Lionel Messi is refusing to turn up for Covid-19 tests at Barcelona on Sunday as he continues to push for a move away from the club.
The Argentinian handed in a shock transfer request at Barca last week, informing club officials of his desire to leave this summer following their humiliating 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Manchester City are reportedly leading the race for his signature, while Paris St-Germain and Inter Milan are also said to be in the running.
However, Barca remain adamant that Messi is under contract for another year, with a €700million release clause included in that deal.
Spanish outlet El Periodico claim the player has asked for showdown talks with Barca chiefs to reach a “friendly agreement” regarding his future.
Yet the Nou Camp hierarchy could be angered by Messi’s latest snub, which will see him refuse to attend their Ciutat Esportiva training ground on Sunday for the start of pre-season and Covid-19 testing.
Should he follow through with that plan and not take the tests, Messi will not be allowed to train with his team-mates.
RAC journalist Gerard Romero claims his stance is a ‘joint decision with his lawyers’, who have reportedly been sacked by Barca.
Bizarrely, law firm Cuatrecasas are said to represent both the club and Messi.
But following a recent attempt to give Messi advice on how to leave them, Marca and Cornice Global claim Barca have now cut ties with the law firm.
Messi has cemented a legacy as one of the greatest players in football history at Barca, where he has scored 634 goals in 731 appearances and clinched 10 Spanish titles, four Champions League crowns and a record six Ballon d’Or awards.
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Reports suggest Man City, who are coached by the 33-year-old’s former Barca manager Pep Guardiola, are in pole position to prise him away from Spain this summer.
Nevertheless, Daily Star Sport columnist Paul Merson believes City should snub Messi, insisting he is no longer the world’s best player.
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