The soap opera between Lionel Messi and Barcelona continues to bubble and this time the scenario was not in the six-time Ballon d’Or-winner’s favor. La Liga on Sunday announced that the 700-million-euro (about 833.5 million U.S. dollars) release clause in Messi’s contract with Barca remains valid.
The Argentinian superstar has told the club that he will not attend the coronavirus testing on Sunday, and neither will he show up in next Monday’s preseason training, according to ESPN.
Earlier on Thursday, ESPN reported that Barcelona’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu was willing to resign if that could convince Messi to stay in Camp Nou. Apparently, it did not work.
On Tuesday, the greatest player from Barca’s youth academy La Masia, Messi faxed the club that he decided to end his contract and leave the team that he has played for 20 years. There is a 700-million-euro (about 833.5 million U.S. dollars) release clause in his deal, but Messi said another clause allows him to end the deal without triggering the exorbitant release money.
Apparently, Barca did not think so. The club said the clause Messi mentioned was invalid after June, but Messi was convinced that it was not because the 2019-20 La Liga season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic and then resumed until this month.
Each side has been sticking to their own argument for good reasons: Messi did not want his new team to burnout finance for his transfer, not to mention that few clubs have that deep pockets; as for Barca, they do not want to watch arguably the greatest football player in today’s world leave for free.
According to Spanish radio station Cadena SER, Messi’s 700-million-euro (about 833.5 million U.S. dollars) release clause was invalid at the end of the 2019-20 season. Nonetheless, La Liga’s announcement said otherwise.
Messi has not spoken in public since he sent his decision to Barcelona, but so far there’s no sign that he may change his mind. On the contrary, reports about him reaching an agreement with Manchester City have been all over the internet. Man City’s manager Pep Guardiola, who is also the man who brought Messi to his career peak, was spotted in Barcelona. It can be anything but a social visit.
The summer transfer window will close on October 5, hopefully, we don’t have to wait until then to learn the end of this story.