Lionel Messi’s desired exit from Barcelona has taken a twist with La Liga confirming he is not able to leave on a free transfer.
Messi wants out of the Nou Camp and was hoping to able to depart without Barca needing a fee due to a clause in his contract.
Manchester City have been heavily linked with a move for the Argentine superstar with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola in charge at the Etihad.
Messi had a clause in his contract that would allow him for free at the end of the season, though coronavirus saw the campaign extended.
Though La Liga have sided with Barca, who said that the clause expired in June regardless of the season’s continuation.
And now any club are set to have to pay Messi’s mammoth release clause of £630m if they want to sign him.
A La Liga statement read on Sunday: “The contract is currently in force and has a ‘termination clause’ applicable to the event that Lionel Andres Messi decides to urge the early unilateral termination of the contract, carried out in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985, of June 26, by which regulates the special employment relationship of professional athletes.
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“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 (£630m) of said clause.”
Messi did not turn up to be tested for coronavirus as requested by Barcelona with reports saying he no longer sees himself as a player of the club.
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It could mean Messi would have to accept lower wages if he is to leave though Spanish football expert Graham Hunter suggests that wouldn’t be an issue.
"If he is motivated and fit there is every reason to argue he could be exceptional for another three or four years, he just turned 33 in June," Hunter told Sky Sports.
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"His contract no longer has that get-out-of-jail-free clause wherein every May the last two or three seasons he could have informed the club he wanted to leave for free.
"He doesn't want to leave for more money or just to be out of the mess that is going on around him, he wants to win the Champions League. It's a very complicated equation to work out how he leaves, or to where he might go.”
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