Lionel Messi

The confusion over Lionel Messi's contract clause, explained

The Argentine and his entourage believe that he can leave on a free but the club are not in agreement

1:00pm on Sunday 30th August 2020
Paul Macdonald

What will it take for Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona?

It's hard to argue that this day has been coming, though the events of the past two weeks have taken a precarious situation and transformed it into a virtually irreconcilable one.

The 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich, coupled with the arrival of Ronald Koeman and swift appraisal of team-mate Luis Suarez, who was deemed surplus to requirements, forced Messi's hand.

And on 25 August 2020, what could be a momentous day in the history of Barcelona, he faxed a communication to the club informed them of his desire to be leave his contract on a free transfer.

Can Messi leave on a free?

In a word no. The clause in his current contract, which expires in the summer of 2021, did allow him to leave the club for free, but that clause expired on May 30 of this year.

Messi's entourage either believe that the coronavirus disruptions had a bearing on the contract and could mean that they have grounds to activate the clause, or they are simply testing Barcelona by transmitting this message.

In any case, Barcelona's response was swift and clear; he cannot leave for free, and his current release clause is a huge 700m Euros.

So Messi will stay at Barcelona?

Not necessarily. Just because the club will not allow him to leave for free does not mean that if the situation is completely untenable then they will not consider offers.

Messi is out of contract next year and free to negotiate terms with rival clubs from January 1. Therefore if Messi is insistent on his situation, and Koeman feels his continued unhappy presence will be a burden on the team, then a compromise may be reached in terms of his fee.

There will not be a situation where Messi will need to go looking for somewhere to sign, but the fee and the terms would have to be within reason, and that is something that Messi's actions over the contract clause could force.

Barca clearly think the clause is worthless, but would not want to enter into prolonged legal discussions at such a delicate time. So it is likely they would wish to resolve things soon. But with both parties so far apart in terms of their expectations, the situation could yet drag on.


Forget Ronald Koeman: Barcelona's problems run much deeper than the coach

Barcelona's bad deals: Breaking down every transfer disaster as 1 billion is wasted

Latest news

Predicted XI

Havertz and White to start? How Arsenal and Chelsea could line up in their pre-season clash

Both Thomas Tuchel and Mikel Arteta will be looking to test as many players as possible in this pre-season clash ahead of the new season

  • 2 days
European Super League

Court tells UEFA to revoke punishments against Super League founders

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are celebrating after winning a key ruling over the Super League at the European Court of Justice

  • 3 days

Headers in training set to be limited for professionals in England

Due to links with degenerative brain diseases, headers in training will be limited to 10 times per week

  • 5 days

What are the Premier League VAR changes for the 2021-22 season?

Inspired by the performance at the Euros, the Premier League have announced sweeping changes to their application of the system

  • 6 days
Player Ratings

England 1-1 Italy (2-3 pens) Player Ratings: Azzurri seal Euro 2020 glory

Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the final of Euro 2020 to seal their first major title since the 2006 World Cup.

  • 3 weeks
Predicted XI

Saka or Sancho to start? How Italy and England could line up for Euro 2020 final

Roberto Mancini and Gareth Southgate are unlikely to diverge from their winning tactics ahead of a tight Euro 2020 final

  • 3 weeks

Most read