Messi's contract with the Catalan club expired on June 30, and there was no renewal. His Barca contract allows Messi to leave the club at any time.
Efe was told by sources at FC Barcelona that Messi would be staying, and that they were certain of that. Both sides wanted to reach an agreement as soon as possible.
The reason for the delay is in the fine print of proposed contract. According to Catalunya Radio it would last two seasons and keep Messi wearing the captain's armband.
Barca is forced to reduce the salaries of its players because of their debt. They currently take 110% of Barca’s revenues.
Joan Laporta, president of FC Barcelona, was elected following the resignation in October 2013 by Josep Maria Bartomeu. He previously stated that he had hoped to sign a new agreement with Messi and present it to him at the club on the 24th June, a Catalan holiday which coincides with Messi's 34th Birthday.
Barca wants him to stay put, even though he is technically an agent free of charge. His famous number 10 shirt will remain the main attraction at the club's official shop.
Messi tried to leave Barcelona in a dramatic fashion last year, but he backed down to avoid a legal battle with the club.