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Lionel Messi must seek new challenge to prove greatness - Mino Raiola

Craig Burley says while Lionel Messi has nothing left to prove, he would like to see how he'd fare in another league.
Iniesta's comments about his Barca future makes ESPN FC's Paul Mariner question where the club will stand moving forward.

Lionel Messi must leave Barcelona if he wants to prove his greatness, according to football agent Mino Raiola.

Messi, 30, has spent his entire professional career at Barca since arriving from Argentina as a teenager.

He has been named World Player of the Year on five separate occasions, but Raiola -- who represents players including Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic but not Messi himself -- suggested a change of scenery would benefit him.

"A player like Messi must try another experience with a different club and prove how great he is," the agent told Marca.

Raiola's comments come as the wait for Messi to sign his new contract, which the club announced earlier that summer, continues.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu said on two separate occasions that Messi had signed the extension, but was contradicted by vice-president Jordi Mestre.

It has since been confirmed that Messi has not yet signed the contract, leading to speculation that Manchester City would be willing to pay his €300 million buyout clause.

"The market as we know it no longer exists," Raiola said. "Now it is countries who are signing players, and that isn't football.

"But transfers of €200m are going to be normal from now on -- it won't be crazy to see that."

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has yet to sign a new Barcelona deal.

Unless he signs a new deal, Messi is free to strike a pre-contract agreement with another club from Jan. 1 and move on a free transfer next summer.

Agusti Benedito, a former Barca presidential candidate who will launch a vote of no confidence against Bartomeu and his board at the beginning of September, told ESPN FC: "It's not impossible [that Messi leaves].

"It might be impossible for him to go for €300m next week, though, because from January he's free.

"I am almost convinced that Messi, like all the players at Barca, is seeing the severity of the institutional situation at the club.

"I think Leo's waiting to see what happens with the vote of no confidence, the signings that are made, how things are going in October, November... He's going to wait and wait.

"Bartomeu said in July that Messi had signed -- but he's still not signed. He is playing with fire. It could be worse than the Neymar case."

However, defender Gerard Pique said he expected Messi to commit his future to Barcelona.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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