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Messi vs Barca: La Liga weighs in, says Man City, other clubs must pay €700m release clause

Lionel Messi and La Liga

Spanish La Liga has weighed-in in the conflict between Lionel Messi and Barcelona after the Argentine forward informed the club of his desire to leave for a new challenge.

Following failures in the Uefa Champions League since 2015 which Barcelona have been eliminated each year in the Quarter Final stage, with the leadership and direction of the club under President Josep Bartomeu in poor shape, Messi has requested to leave.

Barcelona confirmed last Tuesday that Messi has notified them of his desire to leave via burofax, a service used in Spain to urgently dispatch a document that requires proof to third parties.

The club has reportedly responded to Messi via the same service saying they want him to stay and finish his career at the club.

Messi’s contract runs till 2021, meaning the Argentine captain still have a year to stay in Spain.

However, La Liga seems to have dashed Messi’s hopes of leaving Barcelona on a free transfer by stating his release clause will have to be paid if he is to leave the Nou Camp.

Even though the deadline to exercise the clause has passed, Messi’s lawyers believe Barcelona should honour it as the season had to be extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

LaLiga have now bolstered Barcelona’s stance, with the club insisting that the clause has expired and the only way Messi will be allowed to leave is if his €700m release clause is paid in full.

The statement on Sunday reads: “In relation to the different interpretations (some of them contradictory to each other) published in recent days in different media, related to the contractual situation of the player Lionel Andrés Messi with FC Barcelona, ​​LaLiga considers it convenient to clarify that, once the player’s contract with his club.

“The contract is currently in force and has a “termination clause” applicable to the event that Lionel Andrés Messi decides to urge the early unilateral termination of the contract, carried out in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985, of June 26, by which regulates the special employment relationship of professional athletes.

“In compliance with the applicable regulations, and following the corresponding procedure in these cases, LaLiga will not carry out the prior visa process for the player to be removed from the federation if they have not previously paid the amount of said clause,” the statement said.

English Premier League club Manchester City are leading the chase for the Argentine captain’s signature, with Inter Milan, Juventus and PSG also in the race.

La Liga’s intervention comes just hours after Messi failed to report for coronavirus testing at Barcelona’s training complex, meaning he will be unable to participate in Ronald Koeman’s first training session as the club’s new head coach on Monday afternoon.

It is understood the 33-year-old warned the club in advance via Burofax – a form of recorded delivery provided by Spain’s postal service – that he was not going to be present.If Messi does manage to negotiate his Barcelona exit, Manchester City are currently the favourites to sign him.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s push to depart the Nou Camp comes after Barcelona finished the season without a trophy for the first time in 12 years and ended the campaign with a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

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