The 33-year-old’s spent nearly two decades at the Camp Nou and had been expected to see out his career at the club.
However, Messi informed new manager Ronald Koeman on Monday that he was ‘more out than in’ in terms of his future at the club but the Argentine has now confirmed to the club’s board that he wants to leave this summer.
Messi had been one of the few players that was guaranteed his spot at the club after their humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Perhaps the greatest victim of the defeat is Luis Suarez, who was told in a phone call with Koeman on Monday that he was no longer needed at the club in a conversation that lasted less than three minutes.
The Uruyuguan is said to be ‘furious’ with the manner of the Dutchman’s call and he clearly feels that his close friend Messi is right in requesting to leave the club.
Commenting on a post by former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol in which the World Cup winner backed Messi’s decision, Suarez simply posted two ‘clap’ emojis in an indication that he agrees with his desire to leave the club.
‘Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend,’ said Puyol.
Messi had a clause in his contract earlier this year that stipulated that he could leave for free if he informed the club before the expiry that he wanted to depart.
However, that date has passed and Barcelona intend on keeping their star man for at least the last year of his deal.
But Messi fears that he cannot wait for the club to rebuild as he’s entering the final years of his career and Manchester City, Inter Milan, Manchester United and Chelsea are all said to be interested in his services.