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Lionel Messi Given Early Holidays, Could Have Played Final Game for Barcelona

Lionel Messi (Photo Credit: AP)

Lionel Messi (Photo Credit: AP)

Lionel Messi will miss Barcelona's final La Liga game of the season and possibly move on from the Catalan club in the transfer season.

Lionel Messi has been given permission by Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman to miss this weekend’s final La Liga match of the season against Eibar and take holiday, the club confirmed on Friday, meaning he may have played his last game for Catalan side.

“The striker can enjoy a rest before next month’s Copa America after a season in which he is one of the players in the squad who has played most," Barcelona said in a statement.

The 33-year-old has already played 47 matches this season for Barca, scoring 38 goals, but his future at the club remains in doubt as he has been linked with a move to Manchester City where he could join up with former coach Pep Guardiola.

The Argentine’s contract expires at the end of June and there has been no announcement on an extension.

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He requested to leave the club last year and was linked by British and Spanish media with a move to Manchester City or Paris St Germain, but ultimately stayed put for one more season.

Should Messi not sign a new contract then his final game for the club would be last weekend’s dismal 2-1 defeat at the Camp Nou to Celta Vigo.

The 33-year-old has netted 30 times in La Liga this season and is set to win Spain’s Golden Boot – the Pichichi Trophy – however Koeman’s side can at best finish third, behind arch rivals Real Madrid and title favourites Atletico Madrid.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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first published:May 21, 2021, 16:10 IST