How Lionel Messi will attempt to use contract clause to leave Barcelona for free
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Lionel Messi is set to try and force a move away from Barcelona this summer.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who is widely considered to be the greatest player of all time, wants to find a new challenge having become disillusioned with the path taken by club hierarchy.
The 33-year-old has been linked with moves to the Premier League and Serie A among others, and he could still be free to do so for nothing if he can make use of a clause in his contract.
As per his Barcelona deal, Messi would have been free to leave this summer had he announced his intention to do that before the June 10, but he could argue that the extension of the season extended that clause.
Messi, who failed to win a trophy in a season at Barcelona for the first time in 2007/08, told the club that he wanted to leave earlier this week, stunning the footballing world.
The veteran had made his thoughts over the board clear throughout the season, and got involved in an infamous spat with former team-mate and recently sacked sporting director Eric Abidal over the efforts of the playing squad.
Sky Sports have reported that Messi didn’t like how new boss Ronald Koeman was planning to kick Arturo Vidal and Luis Suarez out of the club, which helped him toward his decision.
That pushed thoughts back to his current contract, which is officially set to expire in the summer of 2021.
The report adds that the buy-out clause of the contract he signed in 2017 is a staggering £626m, which is likely to force him to stay at the Nou Camp.
They continue by saying that he could argue that the postponement of the season should have extend the time he had to decide his future, but the club argue against that idea.
That stance is set to see both parties end up in the boardroom, in what will be a distasteful end to either his final, or penultimate season at the club.
Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspar has told Marca: "Messi cannot leave. He will have to leave in 2021. I have seen the contract and it is very clear. The clause ended in June and there is not going back.”
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Koeman had said: “I don't know if I have to convince Messi [to stay]. Of course he is the best player in the world and you want the best player in the world in your team – you don't want him playing against you.
"For me as a coach, I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches. If he is at the ability and the level he has always shown.
“I would be more than happy for him to stay. He's still got a contract and he is still a Barcelona player.
“There are some older players in the team and we need to make some decisions but in Messi's case, I hope that he stays with us."
- Lionel Messi
- Premier League
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- Barcelona FC
- Serie A
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