The iconic 33-year-old forward sent shockwaves around the world of football last week by telling Barcelona of his desire to leave after nearly two decades of incredible service at the Camp Nou.
Messi’s camp informed Barca of their plans to exercise a clause in his contract which could see him leave the club on a free transfer ahead of the new season.
However, the Catalan giants have been insistent that this clause expired, meaning the Argentina international will be going nowhere unless a club like Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City is somehow able to raise the funds to trigger his release clause.
The transfer saga took another twist this weekend as Cadena SER claimed Messi’s release clause expired at the end of the 2019/20 campaign – but these reports were swiftly dismissed in an official statement from La Liga on Sunday afternoon.
La Liga’s official statement on Lionel Messi
In relation to the different interpretations (some of them contradictory to each other) published in recent days in different media, related to the contractual situation of the player Lionel Andrés Messi with FC Barcelona, La Liga wishes to clarify that with regards to the player’s contract with his club:
- The contract is currently in force and has a “termination clause” applicable to the event that Lionel Andrés Messi decides to activate the early unilateral termination of the contract, carried out in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985, of June 26, which regulates the special employment relationship of professional athletes.
- In compliance with the applicable regulations, and following the corresponding procedure in these cases, La Liga will not carry out the prior visa process for the player to be removed from the federation if they have not previously paid the amount of said clause.
Messi was absent as Barcelona’s players underwent coronavirus testing on Sunday morning, meaning he will be unable to take part in the club’s first training session under with new head coach Ronald Koeman.
The attacker informed the club that he would not be attending via Burofax and talks between the two parties are expected to continue over the course of the next week, with a view to finding a resolution.
It’s understood Messi is open to the idea of reuniting with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad this summer but the latest news on his release clause is likely to get in the way of any potential deal with Manchester City.
Guardiola’s former assistant, Mikel Arteta, said he would love to see Messi in the Premier League prior to Arsenal’s Community Shield victory over Liverpool.
‘He has been linked everywhere, you know?,’ the Arsenal manager said.
‘He has more clubs than any other player in history after him. I’ve been a Barcelona fan since I was young and it’s always sad to see, who in my opinion has been the best player in football history, leave that football club. Let’s see what happens, if he comes to England we’re all going to enjoy it.
‘It doesn’t matter. It’s good for football. We’ll have to find a way, if it’s not here we might find him in the Champions League, you never know. You want the best players in your league and for me that’s the best thing, to have the most competitive league in the world.
‘The Premier League has always had that. The times with Ronaldo, I played against him and it was great because it raises the level of every individual and every team as well.’