BARCELONA PRESIDENT Josep Maria Bartomeu could face a heavy fine or jail time if he ventures forward to sell the club’s purportedly outgoing superstar and Argentina captain, Lionel Messi.
This is according to the latest reports coming from Spain as the football world continues to observe developments at the Nou Camp. The suggestions are that Bartomeu is desperate to keep Barca’s best-ever player as this would serve as his own tactic to avoid the severe consequences which lie ahead of him.
Messi wants out having become increasingly unhappy with life at Barca. His side’s emphatic loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals is seen by many as the straw that [finally] broke the camel’s back. Additional reports on the ground are the club captain reportedly is not returning to training any time soon; following this up with threats of legal action by his lawyers in order for him to be allowed to move for free.
But it is understood Bartomeu is trying to stand strong against letting the six-time Ballon d’Or winner go and, according to the journalist Guillem Balague, it is more than just about principle or the playing side of things, but also because the president could face a fine or jail time.
It is, however, popular opinion that the club’s all-time top scorer should be able to leave the club without a hassle owing to a break in his contract. The insistence on the part of the Blaugrana will be that a buying side pays his €700 million (R13.8 billion) release clause for an exit to happen.
The long and simple fact is if Manchester City or any other club for that matter splurged on Messi, then the outgoing president would avoid any further punishment. But for now, it all remains to be seen.