La Liga, on Sunday, decided to take the side of FC Barcelona in the contractual battle between the club and their greatest-ever player Lionel Messi and said only if the Argentine's release clause is paid for can he move out of the Catalan club as the current deal is still valid.
On Tuesday earlier this week, Messi sent a burofax to Barcelona expressing his wish to leave the club, days after their humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League. However, Barcelona replied to the Argentine saying they wanted him to finish his career in Catalonia.
Messi asked to execute a clause in his contract that allows him to terminate his contract unilaterally at the end of the 2019-2020 season and be a free agent. According to the contract, Barca say he was allowed to terminate the contract by June 10 but Messi says that with the extension of the season due to coronavirus pandemic, he has until August 31 to make his decision. The conflict may lead to a legal battle.
Following this, Messi has not turned up for training and on Sunday, he didn't even turn up for pre-season coronavirus tests, exuding the feeling that he may be ready to force his way out of the club.
However, now La Liga have released a statement on how they see the contract and whether Messi can execute the unilateral termination clause of his contract.
Here is his statement in full --
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 appropriate to clarify that, once the player's contract with his club has been analyzed:
The contract is currently in force and has a "termination clause" applicable to the assumption that Lionel Andrés Messi decided to urge the unilateral early termination of the contract, carried out in accordance with Article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985, of 26 June, which regulates the special employment relationship of professional athletes.
In compliance with the applicable regulations, and following the appropriate procedure in these cases, LaLiga will not carry out the prior visa procedure of federative leave to the player if he has not previously paid the amount of that clause.
Along with Champions League embarrassments over the past three years, the chaos at the club's highest level prompted the Argentine's decision. Having last won the Champions League in 2015, Messi's quest for Champions League has become almost an obsession, fueled by the fact that Real Madrid won the next three. However, in the past three years, Barcelona have seen embarrassing losses to AS Roma (3-0), Liverpool (4-0) and Bayern Munich (8-2) this year.
Apart from on-field disappointments, Messi and a few other senior players at Barca have been fighting a constant battle with the club's board and have grown tired of the tussle. This year, Messi publicly criticised former sporting director Eric Abidal and also has been on a tug of war with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu. The final straw was new coach Ronald Koeman coming in and telling Luis Suarez, his best friend at the club, that he was not a part of his project. Koeman's intimation to Suarez happened on Monday and Tuesday, Messi sent a burofax to the club stating he wanted out.