The Lionel Messi saga has taken another twist as his team look into the possibility of the FC Barcelona captain seeing out his contract at Camp Nou.
THE six-time Ballon d’Or winner has made no secret of his wish to leave the club and terminate his contract.
Messi sent a memo FC Barcelona on Tuesday, August 25, saying he wished to exercise a clause in his contract, allowing him to leave for free with immediate effect.
But this isn’t as clear cut as the Argentina international initially thought and his plans for an easy exit have been thwarted by the club and La Liga.
His father and agent, Jorge Messi, together with eldest son Rodrigo, flew into the capital yesterday (Wednesday, September 2) for a lengthy meeting with president Josep Bartomeu, though no decisions were made.
However, it appears Barcelona has scuppered Messi’s plans to simply walk away after 20 years, arguing this option passed on June 10.
The only way out would be to activate the 33-year-old’s release clause.
Messi’s team were under the impression the coronavirus pandemic meant he could terminate his contract in late August, and that a €700 million buy-out fee would be null and void at the end of the 2019/2020 season.
La Liga confirmed the superstar footballer was still under contract when he failed to appear for a compulsory coronavirus test on Sunday.
Pushed for a comment by the Spanish media yesterday, Jorge responded to Deportes Cuatro’s question whether the Messi squad is considering “continuing until 2021 and then leaving for free”, with a short but telling “yes”.
Messi joined Barcelona aged 13 and has scored a club record of 634 goals in 731 appearances. He has won 34 major trophies with the club, including 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies.
Former teammates, fans and celebrities worldwide have taken to social media to offer their support to the only player to score more than 40 goals in 10 consecutive seasons.
England legend, Gary Lineker, tweeted: “If Messi is to leave Barcelona FC by activating a release clause, then I hope the club try to help, not hinder him. He’s been fiercely loyal and their greatest ever player. It would be terribly sad if it finished with a fight between the player and club.”
Meanwhile, there will be elections in March 2021 to find Bartomeu’s replacement, with Victor Font currently the hottest contender.