A fresh update in the Lionel Messi vs Barcelona saga has emerged on Monday afternoon.
Messi eyeing Barcelona exit
The headline news in the footballing world over the last week or so has, of course, been Messi leaving Barcelona.
The La Liga powerhouse suffered a rather humiliating 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions league earlier this month, a loss that appears to have been the final straw for Messi.
In the days following said defeat, news began to emerge that the Argentine had informed the Catalonian outfit of his desire to leave.
The main issue in a potential exit, though, looks to be a clause in Messi’s contract.
In his current contract, Messi is understood to maintain a clause, allowing him to leave for free at the end of any given season, provided that sufficient notice is given.
To take advantage of this clause during a normal campaign, Messi is reportedly required to inform Barca of his desire in May. This year, meanwhile, owing to the pandemic, the Blaugrana believe that their captain should have done so in June, to be sure of an exit.
As a result, Barca are maintaining that Lionel Messi’s €700m release clause is still active.
Said stance was then officially backed up by La Liga over the weekend with the paying of the aforementioned release clause said to be the only way out for Messi.
Official statement by La Liga. They side with Barcelona in Leo Messi contract battle: “Current deal is still valid and paying release clause for €700m is the only way out”.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 30, 2020
ESPN have also recently reported that Barca believe the only way Messi can legally leave for free is if he were to commit to not playing football next season.
Messi to miss training
Despite this blow though, Messi still appears to be adamant his time at the Camp Nou is over.
The forward reportedly did not show up for his scheduled PCR test (Covid-19 test) over the weekend. Marca have also reported that as well as Messi, Ronald Koeman will start Barca’s pre-season without 16 of his players due to injuries, international commitments and holidays.
Now, as per various outlets on Monday, including Sky Sports News and Goal,
Messi will not turn up for training on Monday, with the forward no longer considering himself a part of Ronald Koeman’s Barca squad.
BREAKING: Lionel Messi considers his Barcelona contract over and did not report for training today, Goal can confirm pic.twitter.com/rQh5kVQrmh
— Goal (@goal) August 31, 2020
Sky add that Messi’s father and representative is expected to meet with the Barcelona hierarchy on Wednesday to discuss the future of the 33-year-old.
In terms of potential suitors for Messi, as of this past weekend, Manchester City were understood to be the frontrunners.
And with it looking increasingly like that any potential suitor will have to stump up some form of fee to free Messi from Barca, it is also believed that City are willing to include Eric Garcia and Angelino as part of a deal.
However, all of Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva or Riyad Mahrez will reportedly not be allowed to leave as part of the move to bring Messi to the Etihad.
On an interesting side note, should Messi indeed leave Barca, Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone will actually become the highest-paid coach or player in La Liga.