World’s top footballer Messi leaves Barcelona
The Argentina international, 33, sent a fax to the club on Tuesday saying he wishes to exercise a clause in his contract, allowing him to leave for free with immediate effect. The board will meet soon and some consider the only thing that could placate Messi is the resignation of the president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and early elections. But Messi seems determined to leave the club no matter what.
Barca were beaten 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals on 16 August.The six-time Ballon d’Or winner made his debut for Barca in 2004 and has won the Champions League four times. Barcelona, though, believe the clause has now expired and Messi is contracted to the club until 2021 with a 700m euro buy-out clause.
After the news broke, Barca fans gathered outside the Nou Camp to protest against the board and in support of the club’s record goalscorer.A legal battle is now set to follow between the club and the player. Messi had a clause in his contract which allowed him to leave for free, if he informed the club of his desire before 10 June.
That date has now passed so Barca believe the clause has expired, but Messi and his team feel it should be extended to cover the prolonged season – which ran until August due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend,” Messi’s former team-mate Carles Puyol tweeted, to which current team-mate Luis Suarez replied with two clapping emoj
Europe’s elite are queuing up to sign arguably the world’s best player, but Messi may still surprise everyone with his next move.
As the minutes ticked by after the bombshell news that Messi wanted out of Barcelona, it was little surprise to see City emerge as early favourites for his signature. Pep Guardiola and Messi won two Champions Leagues together at Barça, and there may be a temptation to reunite for another tilt at the trophy.
Guardiola has routinely said he hoped Messi would finish his career at Barça, but rumours persist in Spain that the duo have been in contact in recent days. City also have the financial means and the successful appeal against their two season Champions league ban now looks like perfect timing.
There are caveats, though; defensive recruits are the priority this summer, and the club have tended to steer clear of signing players who are past their prime. Messi may be a different story – and reports that rivals Manchester United are also interested may force them into a quick decision.
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