FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has been the subject of numerous speculations because of the fact that his contract with the club will run out in 2021. Italian media has recently come out with a report claiming that Serie A side Internazionale Milano is making a play to sign the Argentine for 260 million euros ( £235 million).

Messi's current contract with the Catalan giants will expire on June 30, 2021. Because no contract extension has been announced as of yet, many are speculating that an unexpected move away from the club might actually happen.

The fire has been fuelled even further by a recent public spat between Messi and club management following the departure of former head coach Ernesto Valverde. After Barcelona failed to defend their Spanish La Liga title in the recently concluded season, more speculations about Messi being unsatisfied at the club have emerged.

It has been widely publicised that Messi has the option to leave on a free transfer at the end of his current contract. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter wants to take advantage of the free transfer while at the same time offering Messi a salary that would effectively be higher than what Cristiano Ronaldo is getting at Juventus.

In the alleged Inter deal, Messi is set to receive a net income of 50 million euros a year. That would be significantly higher than Ronaldo's 31 million euro salary.

If Messi does make the move to the Serie A, he will get a chance to face his old rival on the same playing field once again. Football fans are salivating at the prospect of a Ronaldo-Messi Serie A face-off, but Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted that it won't happen. He has said on numerous occasions that he believes Messi plans to retire at Barcelona. Messi himself has never spoken about any plans to leave.

Meanwhile, current Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte calls the reports "fantasy football." He told Marca that while everyone wants to sign Messi, it is a very, very distant possibility for Inter.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi vented his frustration as Barcelona surrendered the La Liga title to Real Madrid. AFP / LLUIS GENE