According to reports, talks of Lionel Messi’s contract negotiations with Barcelona have hit a road-block as the Argentine prepares himself for the upcoming El Clasico.

Marca reported that the contract negotiations between the Argentine and the Catalans have not progressed due to the gulf between what the player demands and what the club is ready to offer their star player.

Lionel Messi’s  current contract extends till June 2018 which means that he still has three seasons left at Barcelona but the Catalans are taking no chances and want to tie the player down past 2018. Reports suggest that Lionel Messi’s father has been greatly angered by Barcelona’s offer which has not met the promises made by Sandro Rosell before he resigned earlier this year. However Barcelona officials were quick to ensure that the matter did not go out of hand and assured the superstar’s father that their demands will be met at Camp Nou. The striker also came out and pledged his future to Barcelona saying that he will stay at the club as long as the fans want him to stay.

Barcelona are well aware of Lionel Messi’s importance and will not risk putting the contract negotiations in danger. The Argentine has single-handedly led Barcelona to its greatest heights and has been the focal point of the squad ever since he made it to the first team. The striker recently ecplipsed another milestone and is now the highest goal-scorer at Barcelona at the young age of 26. If the player stays at the Camp Nou for the next few years, his standing record might well be out of reach for decades to come.

These reports come just days before the all-important El Clasico that could prove to be the most crucial fixture for Barcelona this season. All eyes will be on the Argentine who knows he will have to lead from the front if Barcelona are to cut the gap with league leaders Real Madrid.

“We have a unique opportunity to close the gap on Real and Atlético. We’re playing away and Real are a great team. It’s going to be really tough, but it’s up to us and we can do it.”

Barcelona have struggled to get their campaign going in 2014 and Messi has alternated between his usual brilliant self and a pale version of himself in the La Liga. They have dropped a lot of points and have given away the lead to arch rivals who now lead them by 4 points. If Real manage to beat Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu then things could get extremely difficult for the Catalans as they will be starring at a 7 point difference with just 9 games to go for the league to come to an end.

Will Lionel Messi come to Barcelona’s rescue on Sunday and gift them 3 crucial points? Time will tell as the clock runs down the days left for the El Clasico.