Messi pointed to a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for free, but president Josep Maria Bartomeu refused.
This would further fracture Messi’s relationship with the club and Bartomeu in particular, whom he accused of lying.
During the next season it seemed like he could actually leave the following summer, with Manchester City and PSG leading the race for his signature.
But, things calmed down under Ronald Koeman, and talk of an exit softened particularly after Bartomeu was replaced by Laporta.
The acquisition of compatriot and friend Aguero this summer would also have helped convince Messi to stay.
At the moment, he is currently on holiday with his family following his Copa America triumph with Argentina.