Lionel Messi has told Barcelona that he instantly wants to leave the club – and on a free transfer. The Argentinean, who had told the new president, Ronald Koeman, according to RAC1 radio, that he felt “more out than in,” sent a fax to Barcelona telling them that he wanted to leave.
Messi’s camp claims a clause in his contract would ensure he can walk free at no charge. In comparison, Barcelona maintains he is always bound by a buy-out clause of €700 m ( £ 629 m). On Tuesday evening the bombshell fell with the report Messi had told the club on Tuesday afternoon.
Barcelona also needs to respond officially, but they continue to insist that it is part of Koeman ‘s plans and that €700 m is the official price if he is to quit. The contract for Messi expires next year, meaning they will be forced to negotiate with potential buyers. Worse, a clause in his contract allows him to walk away for free as long as the decision is shared.
Barcelona claims that the time limit for enforcing the provision has expired, as he had to notify them of his decision before the end of May. But given this season’s exceptional nature, which extended into the summer and did not formally end until last Sunday’s Champions League final, Messi’s camp is set to argue that the deadline should be set August 31.
Former Barça captain Carles Puyol has tweeted his Messi support, saying “Leo, respect and admiration. All my support, mate. Luis Suárez, who Koeman has already told him he may leave the club, replied with two emojis of applause.
The Argentine newspaper Diario Olé has confirmed that, during his first meeting with Koeman, Messi was left furious and disappointed. The latest coach from Barcelona told Messi, “The rights are done here,” according to Spain’s Diario AS.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, the club’s president is expected to hold an emergency board meeting in response to Messi’s formal offer to leave. Supporters from Barcelona gather outside the club ‘s offices, where it is assumed the meeting will take place.
Whatever happens now, the player ‘s relationship with the club he has been calling home for nearly 20 years is now fractured beyond repair, and the situation is worsening by the minute. Bartomeu, still under extreme pressure, may now descend as the man who supervised the last, bitter, tragic departure of the club’s most important player in history.