Lionel Messi has made it clear today that he intends to stay at Barcelona for the coming season following a contract dispute with the club.
Lawyers for Messi told Barcelona last week that he wanted to activate a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave at no cost before the 2020-21 season. However, the club disputed the claim saying the clause expired on June 10, a position backed by LaLiga, meaning paying his €700million (£632m) release clause is the only way to trigger a transfer.
In a statement, Messi said, quote: “I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not. Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.”
In what is a major blow to Manchester City’s hopes of snatching the 33-year-old, who many believe is the best player in the world, Barcelona has reached a resolution in the drawn-out talks with Messi’s representatives. The player’s father, Jorge Messi, has been locked in talks with the Spanish club for the last three days, but after issuing a letter earlier in the day that stressed Messi’s contract – which contained a €700m (£624m) release clause – no longer applies following the conclusion of the 2019/20 season, the Argentina international has completed a U-turn and will remain at the Nou Camp for the season ahead as he does not want to take the club to court.