Leo Messi has reportedly informed FC Barcelona that he wants to leave the club immediately despite having a 700 million euro release clause in his contract.
The news was broken on Tuesday by Argentinean TV channel TyC Sports and repeated in the Spanish media, explaining that Messi has sent a registered fax to the club highlighting a clause which allows him to unilaterally rescind his contract at the end of this season.
The Barcelona based ‘El Mundo Deportivo’ newspaper reported that the club has indeed received a fax from Messi but that the clause allowing him to walk away for free expired on June 10th. However, the striker believes that this is irrelevant because Barca’s campaign only ended on August 14th following their 8-2 elimination from the Champions League by Bayern Munich.
Radio station Onda Cero adds that Messi has no intention of presenting himself at the PCR tests scheduled by the club ahead of the return to pre-season training under new coach Ronald Koeman 24 hours later.
The striker reportedly expressed doubts over his future at the Camp Nou, where he has been since arriving as a 13 year-old, making 737 appearances and scoring 634 goals for the club, in a recent telephone conversation with Koeman.
In that conversation, the new Barca boss told Messi he had full confidence in the 33-year-old to lead next season’s project, although Koeman has since informed Barca veterans, Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and defender Samuel Umtiti they have no place in his plans.
Barcelona are likely to be inflexible in their attitude to Messi and with elections for the club Presidency in March, current President, Josep Maria Bartomeu knows that if Messi does leave it will be a permanent stain on his term in office.