LIONEL MESSI has rejected a new Barcelona deal.

Spanish daily Marca report that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner said no to a contract renewal in July over concerns regarding his tax fraud case.

Messi was given a 21-month sentence after being found guilty of three counts of tax evasion but did not serve time behind bars.

The Argentina superstar, widely regarded as the world’s greatest footballer, is tied down to Barcelona until 2018.

Marca claim Messi decided not to renew in the second week of July, when he was pictured on holiday with his family.

It is believed that Messi’s father Jorge and his advisers acted as messengers, passing on the forward’s decision to club bosses.

Marca report that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu received the news with “understandable shock”.

Messi has recently endured a tough time with Argentina, urging his team-mates to get out of their “s*** situation”.

That came after his Barcelona team-mate Neymar scored in the Samba Boys’ 3-0 win over Messi’s side last week.

Barcelona return to action following the international break against Malaga on Saturday afternoon.

 

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