Atlético agree deal to sign Thomas Lemar from Monaco

The capture of Lemar has been a priority for Atlético, who have been making moves in the market to attract world class players to the club, not least to persuade Antoine Griezmann to extend his stay in Madrid.

The Atletico Madrid ace has always been linked with a big-money move to Camp Nou and has resolved to clarify his club future this week. "I think we will find out this week". "And Griezmann is one of them", Messi told Sport.

"I don't know what happened against the U.S., we prepared well". However, Atletico responded with a counter-offer which will make him the club's best paid player by some distance. That depends on the signing committee and the coach.

"I'm just saying that to win the Champions League you need to have the best. And he is very good".

Barcelona have failed to progress beyond the quarter-final stage in three seasons since last lifting the Champions League, being knocked out by Atletico, Juventus and most recently Roma.

Messi, though, is adamant the season was a success. "Winning La Liga and the Copa [del Rey] is really important".

Having made a run to the Champions League semis and won the French title in 2017, Monaco sold Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea, and let teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe leave for Paris Saint Germain. "If he stays, it will be a great joy for us but if he leaves, life goes on".