Lionel Messi has told FC Barcelona via fax that he wants to leave the club after nearly 20 years with the organization, according to TyC Sports in Argentina. CBS Sports Champions League correspondent Guillem Balague is reporting that the club confirmed it received the message and Barcelona insist that his clause to leave the team before the 2020-21 season has already expired. The club will now hold an emergency meeting to figure out the next steps, according to CBS Sports transfer inside Fabrizio Romano.
The 33-year-old Argentine is aiming to transfer to a new team and start a new chapter in his life after a poor end to last season that culminated with Barcaa being destroyed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals. Barca failed to win a trophy for the first time in over a decade during the 2019-20 season.
Messi’s decision came after meeting with new manager Ronald Koeman, according to the report. Messi reportedly has a clause in his contract that would allow him to exit the club before the start of the 2020-21 season. It was believed that the clause would have expired in June, but reports say Messi’s team is confident it still applies due to the change in the schedule with the club’s season having ended in August instead of May. With the club telling Balague it has expired, the two sides could be headed for a legal standoff.
Messi joined Barca in 2001 as a youth player and made his debut for the senior side in 2004. Since then, he’s won every trophy multiple times and has scored 634 goals in 731 games for the club, putting together what is viewed by many as the greatest individual career in history.
Messi’s decision to move on probably means that only a few clubs will be able to afford his services, depending on the transfer fee, with Manchester City, PSG and Juventus having the economic resources to make such a move.
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