BARCELONA, Spain: Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has dropped a massive bombshell on his fans. Lionel Messi has told Barcelona that he wants to leave the club and terminate his contract after nearly two decades.
On Tuesday, the club confirms to The Associated Press that the Argentina great, Lionel Messi sent a document expressing his desire to leave.
Notably, Messi, 33, has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona. This includes scoring over 600 goals and winning ten league titles and four Champions Leagues.
Interestingly, the announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals. Sources suggest that this was one of the worst defeats in the player’s career and in the club’s history. And this may lead Messi to go for this decision.
Meantime, his attempt to leave the club could now lead to a legal battle between Barcelona and the player. But reports hints that Messi wants to invoke a clause in his contract that allows him to leave unilaterally this summer.
If Messi is to leave @FCBarcelona by activating a release clause, then I hope the club try to help, not hinder him. He’s been fiercely loyal and their greatest ever player. It would be terribly sad if it finished with a fight between the player and the club.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) August 25, 2020
But here’s the catch. According to the club, the deadline for triggering that clause expired in June and that it would seek legal advice.
Why Lionel Messi Leaving Barcelona?
In the past couple of seasons, cracks have started to appear in the relationship between Messi and the club. People aware of this matter suggest that Messi had become more outspoken than ever. He is willing to criticise senior club figures as well as his own team-mates.
Reportedly, he was considering his future but manager Quique Setien was fired. Also his successor Ronald Koeman was announced. Koeman and Messi spoke on the phone where the new manager told him that the team has to come first, as per reports.
But after this development, the Barcelona board is having an emergency meeting following this development, reportedly.
Reunión de urgencia de parte de la Junta directiva del Barcelona con un ambiente muy complicado en estos momentos.
— Alfredo Martínez (@Alfremartinezz) August 25, 2020
The Spanish season would normally have ended in May but it was pushed back because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The club is still hopeful with Messi
If Messi can leave for free, he will have no shortage of suitors. But Barcelona’s president Josep Bartomeu had said he was confident that Messi would finish his career with Barcelona.
WHERE COULD MESSI GO?
Clearly, there aren’t many clubs who could afford to sign Lionel Messi. Manchester City, managed by Messi’s former boss Pep Guardiola, is one of the options. However, Manchester United may also consider this chance.
Inter Milan has a long-held interest in signing Messi. And Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (PSG) is also a logical destination as a team that could certainly afford to sign Messi.