The star forward's future at Camp Nou looks to be in doubt like never before, and a man hoping to lead the club has made his stance clear.
Lionel Messi and Barcelona could be heading for a sensational split, and the man who hopes to become president at Camp Nou next year says: "It gives me nightmares."
There are continuing doubts over Messi's interest in staying on at Camp Nou after a painful end to the season in La Liga and the Champions League.
Victor Font, who is rivalling Joan Laporta in the race to succeed current Barca chief Josep Maria Bartomeu, says he fears the prospect of the club's record scorer departing.
The Argentinian forward has been notably quiet since Barcelona were trounced 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Messi allowed Gerard Pique to explain away the torrid night in Lisbon, and there has been silence since.
Bartomeu said he had spoken to Messi's father, but not to the player himself, while new boss Ronald Koeman declared he needed to speak to the 33-year-old to determine his intentions.
Font said in an interview with Catalan newspaper Sport that he did not discount the possibility of Messi leaving.
"I believe there's a risk and it gives me nightmares. Messi is vital to this club, the most important player in its entire history and it'll only grow after he retires," Font said. "The relationship between Messi and Barca must continue after he's hung up his boots. He should be the image of this club and its growth throughout the world."
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