Argentine star Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club after nearly two decades with the LaLiga giants.
Barcelona confirmed to the Associated Press on Tuesday that Messi sent a document expressing his desire to leave.
The announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
The humiliating defeat capped a difficult season for Barcelona – the first without a trophy since 2007-08 – and ignited one of its worst crises ever.
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Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards during his time at Barcelona as the top player in the world, and has helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions Leagues.
Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol reacted to the news that Messi wants to leave, tweeting: “Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend.”
Last week, Barcelona’s new head coach Ronald Koeman said he wants Messi to remain at the club.
“I don’t know if I have to convince Messi (to stay). Of course he is the best player in the world and you want the best player in the world in your team – you don’t want him playing against you.
“For me as a coach, I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches. If he is at the ability and the level he has always shown, I would be more than happy for him to stay.
“He’s still got a contract and he is still a Barcelona player. There are some older players in the team and we need to make some decisions but in Messi’s case, I hope that he stays with us.”
Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth told The Transfer Show:”The facts of the matter are that he has a release clause in his contract of €700m so, whether he wants to leave or not, who can afford €700m?
“However, there is a clause within that contract that says Messi can leave for free at the end of every season, should he decide that he wants to leave Barcelona, so you would think then that Messi is available for no money at all.
“However, there is a little bit of confusion with this one because Messi will say the season has finished late and, under the contract, the season finishes and I can leave for free.
“But Barcelona will say this is an exceptional circumstance that the season got extended and they will refer to when the season would have ended before, which would have been in May or early June.
“They will say that is when the clause expires, so the £700m release clause becomes active once more.
“Until they sort that out, Messi can say I want to leave Barcelona, he can express his desire to leave but, until this release clause issue gets sorted, and whether he can actually leave for free, you have to wonder who can actually pay €700m to buy Messi?”Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.