Lionel Messi has reportedly told Barcelona he wants to leave the club this summer following discussions with their new manager Ronald Koeman.
Speculation has been rife that the Argentinean star could be set to move on ever since Barca’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
And now reports from Spain and Argentina claim that he has communicated to the club his desire for a fresh start following a turbulent season.
Messi’s camp believes that a clause in his contract means he can walk away for no fee. Barcelona, by contrast, insist that he is still bound by a €700m (£629m) buy-out clause. The bombshell dropped on Tuesday evening with the news that Messi had told the club on Tuesday afternoon.
Barcelona are yet to react officially but they continue to insist that he is part of Koeman’s plansand that if he is to depart his official price is €700m. Messi’s contract expires next summer, suggesting they would be forced to negotiate with potential buyers. Worse, a clause in his contract allows him to walk away for free so long as he communicates that decision.
Barcelona believe the deadline for that clause to be applied has expired, as he had to inform them of his decision before the end of May. But given the exceptional nature of this season, which extended into the summer and did not formally end until the Champions League final last Sunday, Messi’s camp are set to argue that the deadline should be set on 31 August.