Lionel Messi has reportedly informed F.C. Barcelona that he will be leaving and wants to “unilaterally” terminate his contract with the Spanish giants.
Messi has been with the club since he was just 12 years old, over which time he was broken almost every record, won the Ballon d’Or six times and, arguably, established himself as the greatest ever footballer.
Messi’s lawyers sent Barca a fax in which they announced Messi’s desire to rescind his contract by triggering a release clause. Barcelona, however, will be demanding a fee, arguing that the clause expired in June and he remains under contract until the end of the 2021 season.
“In principial, this clause expired on June 10, but the unusual nature of this season disrupted by the coronavirus opened the way for Messi to ask to be released from his contract now,” Spanish sports daily Marca reports.
“It’s the first step towards opening negotiations over his departure, on the basis of which his release clause amounts to 700 million euros.
The football star’s current salary, believed to be £26 million GBP (approximately $34.15 million USD), narrows down the number of teams who are capable of hiring Messi– super rich clubs including Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain currently linked with the Argentinian forward, while Inter Milan are also rumored to be preparing an approach.
“The end of the glorious era of Leo Messi at Barcelona seems to be close. After the arrival of Ronald Koeman, what looks like the exit of his friend Luis Suarez and a difficult and turbulent end to the season, Messi told Barcelona in a fax of his intention to leave the club,” said Once radio station.
News of Messi’s departure from the club came as a shock, however, speculation over his future has intensified since Barcelona suffered a humiliating loss 8-2 to Bayern Munich earlier this month in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon earlier this month. This resulting in the dismissal of coach Quique Setien after barely six months in charge.