Barcelona suspect that rivals Real Madrid may be the reason why contract talks have stopped with star Ilaix Moriba, with Los Blancos circling to squeeze the talented teenager.
The 18-year-old’s contract will expire at the end of the 2021/22 campaign, which means he can leave Camp Nou for free next summer. La Blaugrana are keen to sign him to a new long-term contract, but they are making little progress as the weeks continue to creep in.
Moriba is kept away from the publishing team until he signs a new contract / David Ramos / Getty Images
Goal has reported that Barcelona believe that Madrid’s enemies are to blame for this lack of progress. The Catalan giants suspect that Moriba is a target for Los Merengues, and the potential transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu is very tempting for the midfielder.
Barça puts his foot down on the negotiations, after telling Moriba that he will not be able to train or work with the first team group until he has resolved his contract dispute and forced him to decide as soon as possible.
Moriba’s representatives have denied any contact between themselves and Madrid and have described the potential move to the Spanish capital as “very difficult”. Barça will work hard to secure the child’s services in the long term, having tipped him for greatness since he emerged through the Masia Academy.
Moriba received the highest salary ever awarded to a youth player as early as 2019, with Barça confident that he would become a superstar. And they hope the midfielder regains the early faith shown in his abilities by rejecting any distractions and committing to the Camp Nou.
Despite the history suggesting that Barça and Madrid are serious enemies, the couple actually share a good working relationship in the boardroom. Respective presidents Joan Laporta and Florentino Perez have stood by their counterparts in the fight for the European Super League, and there is little friction between them.
Moriba celebrates points against Osasuna / Soccrates Images / Getty Images
It is considered unlikely then that Perez would throw away the good relationship by taking one of Barça’s jewels under his nose.