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Lionel Messi is now '90% likely to STAY at Barcelona' after Josep Bartomeu pleaded with superstar's father Jorge to help persuade his son to do a U-turn in 90-minute meeting on Wednesday

Lionel Messi is close to admitting defeat in his battle to leave Barcelona for Manchester City, according to TyC Sports in Argentina.

Barcelona asked Messi’s father Jorge to help persuade his son to reconsider his attempt to force his way out of the club, in a 90-minute meeting with Nou Camp president Josep Bartomeu on Wednesday night.

With neither side appearing willing to back down the stalemate looked set to continue but message has been relayed to the Barcelona captain and he is understood to be considering his options on Thursday.

Several media in Argentina, who first reported that Messi had sent a Burofax to Barcelona requesting a free-transfer, even suggested he was now ’90 per cent likely to stay’.

Messi would carry on until June 2021 – effectively admitting defeat in the battle to prove his deadline for informing the club he wanted to leave should have been moved back because the pandemic delayed the end of the season.

The latest development came after Jorge Messi arrived in Barcelona from Argentina on Wednesday morning and began the day saying it would be ‘difficult’ for his son to stay at Barcelona.

He was asked by Cuatro Deportes in Spain: ‘How do you see it?’.

When he replied ‘difficult’ he was asked: ‘difficult for him to stay?’ and he replied: ‘yes’.

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