Barcelona legend, Lionel Messi has submitted a request to leave the club after spending nearly two decades of his entire career with the Spanish giants, with whom he won six Ballon d’Or.
The 33-year-old Argentina international sent a fax to the club on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, saying he wishes to exercise a clause in his contract, allowing him to leave for free with immediate effect.
A legal battle is now set to follow between Barcelona and Messi who has been with the club since 2000. Messi had a clause in his contract which allowed him to leave for free, if he informed the club of his desire before 10 June.
That date has now passed so Barca believe the clause has expired, but Messi and his team feel it should be extended to cover the prolonged season – which ran until August due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi, whose current contract reportedly worth €565,000 ($645,000) a week, has helped Barcelona win 10 league titles in his time at the club, as well as the Champions League four times, and he is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol reacted to the news that Messi wants to leave, tweeting: “Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend.”
Respeto y admiración, Leo. Todo mi apoyo, amigo.
— Carles Puyol (@Carles5puyol) August 25, 2020
The announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, one of the worst defeats in the player’s career and in the club’s history.
The defeat capped a difficult season for Barcelona – the first without a trophy since 2007/08 – and ignited one of their worst crises ever.
After the Bayern humiliation. Barcelona sacked the coach Quique Setien and replaced him with former player Ronald Koeman.