Barcelona

Lionel Messi can no longer leave Barcelona for free this summer

The Argentine previously had a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Camp Nou for nothing, which has now expired

 
10:21am on Wednesday 3rd June 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Lionel Messi is set to stay at Barcelona for at least one more season after the Blaugrana club captain decided not to exercise a clause in his contract that would see him leave, for free, this summer.

In 2017, the Argentine superstar signed a new deal with Barcelona which featured a stipulation that he could leave the club at the end of any given season within that contract as long as the club were notified before 1 June.

For the 2019/20 season, that deadline has now passed, meaning he is staying put at the Camp Nou, for the moment.

This season, Messi had a public spat with Barcelona technical secretary and former team-mate Eric Abidal, who criticised the playing squad of not working hard enough for head coach Ernesto Valverde.

The feud cast doubt over the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's future at the club, but president Josep Maria Bartomeu said in November that he believes the Argentine wishes to finish his career in Catalunya.

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"Surely it will be the wish of all parties, if he feels strong and ambitious, to extend this contract indefinitely," Bartomeu told the media earlier this season.

"Ultimately it is he who must decide. He has earned the right to decide when he will stop playing football. But he wants to finish his playing career at Barcelona.

"Over the next two or three seasons our leader will continue to be Leo Messi. There's no doubt that he is still young, still strong. He is still ambitious.

"So Leo Messi will still play with us for the next two, three, four or five years. I have no doubts about that."

With concerns eased over the coronavirus pandemic in Spain, the Primera Division is set to recommence in a couple of weeks, with Barcelona facing Mallorca as they look to maintain their title assault.

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