Lionel Messi will not be tied to his £632million release clause as it expired at the end of last season, according to reports in Spain.
The Argentine superstar handed in his transfer request last week and was hopeful he could terminate his contract.
That move has been blocked by Barcelona chiefs, who insist that option expired last June, when the 2019/20 season was scheduled to end before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Barcelona fans have been protesting outside the Camp Nou to try and keep Messi at the club, but it appears another bombshell has just been dropped.
Spanish radio station Cadena SER claim the £632m release clause expired at the end of the 2019/20 campaign and there is no longer a buy-out figure in Messi’s contract.
The news will come as a major boost to Messi’s potential suitors and his efforts to leave the club before the close of the current transfer window.
Even big-spending giants like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain would struggle to meet a £632m buy-out clause and remain within Financial Fair Play rules.
Messi is not expected to report for pre-season at Barcelona on Sunday and has told the board he will not return for testing or training.
The 33-year-old is in the final year of his contract at Barcelona and could away from the La Liga side for free next summer.
However, Messi is determined to leave now having grown disillusioned by the board’s efforts to rejuvenate the club’s fortunes.
Messi is thought to prefer a switch to City where he reunite with Pep Guardiola.