IT IS ALMOST UNFATHOMABLE having an active Lionel Messi not playing football, but instead, lingering on the sidelines. Well, new reports have suggested that Barcelona believe the only way he can leave for free is if he commits to not playing football in 2020/21.
The 33-year-old handed in a transfer request last week with his lawyers believing he can terminate his contract thanks to a clause in his deal, according to his lawyers. It was widely reported the six-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a clause back in 2017 that allows him to leave for free at the end of every season.
ESPN have reported the Catalan giants think Messi would have to relinquish his whole salary, in addition to not signing with a new club until next summer if he wants to depart for free. Stiff conditions. La Liga released a statement on Sunday afternoon that backed Barcelona’s insistence of a €700 million (R13.8 billion) buyout clause still being active.
The statement from La Liga read: “In relation to the different interpretations (some of them contradictory to each other) published in recent days in different media, related to the contractual situation of the player Lionel Andrés Messi with FC Barcelona, La Liga wishes to clarify that with regards to the player’s contract with his club.
“The contract is currently in force and has a ‘termination clause’ applicable to the event that Lionel Andrés Messi decides to activate the early unilateral termination of the contract, carried out in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985, of June 26, which regulates the special employment relationship of professional athletes.
“In compliance with the applicable regulations, and following the corresponding procedure in these cases, La Liga will not carry out the prior visa process for the player to be removed from the federation if they have not previously paid the amount of said clause.”
Messi, who was a no-show at Barca’s training session on Monday, has been linked with a move to Manchester City for a possible reunion with Pep Guardiola. Amid the ongoing saga and the insistence from Messi’s quarters for a possible looming departure, ESPN claims Barca’s offer of a two-year contract extension for the talisman is still on the table.