Lionel Messi wants a move out of Barcelona this summer, but La Liga says that he cannot leave the Spanish giants as a free agent.
According to the governing body of Spanish football, the Argentine can exit the club if €700 million release clause is paid or if another side persuades the Catalans to lessen the transfer fee.
The 33-year-old footballer gave a transfer request to the board last week, with a view to activate the clause that would make him free to depart the club and join any other side this summer.
That clause expired in June, however, the player’s legal team are prepared to defend that he should be permitted to cancel the contract unilaterally because the 2019-20 season was extended due to the pandemic.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been linked with several clubs so far, but according to the Mirror, Manchester City are the most likely candidates to secure the signature of the experienced footballer with the Sky Blues also close to tying down manager Pep Guardiola to a new contract.
However, La Liga has now given its stand on the situation, saying that the contract terms of the Argentine footballer are valid, meaning the 33-year-old won’t be able to leave Camp Nou until the club receives €700 million fee or they decide to sell him for less.
The Spanish football governing body said:
“With regard to the various interpretations (some of which are contradictory) published by a number of media outlets in recent days in relation to the contractual situation surrounding FC Barcelona player Lionel Andrés Messi, after having studied his contract with the club, La Liga considers it appropriate to clarify matters.
“The contract is currently in force and features a release clause to be applied in the event that Lionel Andres Messi should decide to activate the early unilateral termination of the contract.
“In line with the regulations and procedures that apply in such instances, La Liga shall not proceed with the release required for the player to be deregistered from the Spanish Football Federation unless the aforementioned clause has been paid.”