Messi’s lawyers plan to invoke a clause which would have allowed him to terminate his contract if he had informed the club by 10 June. The 33-year-old’s legal team argue that that specific date is no longer relevant, as it was designed as a deadline after the season had ended, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing an extension that only saw this year’s campaign finally conclude in August.
However, in a statement released on Sunday, La Liga seemed to side with Barcelona as a legal battle looms between the club and its greatest ever player.
“The contract is currently in force and has a ‘termination clause’ applicable to the event that Messi decides to activate the early unilateral termination of the contract,” the statement read.
“In compliance with the regulations and procedure in these cases, La Liga will not carry out the prior visa process for the player to be removed from the federation unless they have previously paid the amount of said clause.”
Messi’s staggering announcement that he intends to leave the club this summer occurred 11 days after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich, plunging the club into chaos.
Barcelona have remained publicly adamant that they do not want to sell Messi for anything less than his release clause, despite the Argentine’s desire to negotiate a peaceful exit, with Manchester City heavily touted as favourites to sign him.
Since then, manager Quique Setien and sporting director Eric Abidal have been sacked, while president Josep Maria Batomeu has offered to resign if it’s contingent on Messi staying.
Following the hiring of Ronald Koeman as the club’s new manager, Barcelona began plotting a huge overhaul of their ageing squad, with Messi’s close friend Luis Suarez one of those set to be forced out the door.
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