In a shocking development of events, Lionel Messi has reportedly asked to leave Barcelona in the ongoing transfer window.
As reported by Sky Sports, Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club after nearly two decades with the Catalan giants.
The crown jewel of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, Messi has grown into one of the best footballers of all-time, taking the Catalans to lofty heights along the way.
However, signs of unrest have been apparent for quite some time now, with the little magician expressing his displeasure at the club’s inability to re-sign Neymar last summer. This was followed by him lashing out former club director Eric Abidal, who had laid the blame at the player’s feet for the sacking of Ernesto Valverde.
Messi also spoke out against the board on the issue of players taking pay-cuts due to the pandemic. All things had been pointing towards a marriage heading towards divorce. And it seems like the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League was the last straw.
And as per the report, Messi has now informed Barcelona that he wants to embark on a new challenge. It is being claimed that the club captain made his wishes known to the club via a fax on Tuesday afternoon.
Messi’s camp believes that the 33-year-old can walk out of the club on a free transfer owing to a clause in his contract. The Catalans, though, are insisting that the deadline for the said clause has expired and as a result, their skipper is now bound by a €700 million buy-out clause, which clubs need to trigger.
There hasn’t been an official statement made by the La Liga runners-up, but they will continue on their stance that the Argentine international remains a part of new manager Ronald Koeman’s plans and will only leave if his release clause of €700 million is met.
Former Barcelona captain and club legend Carles Puyol seemed to have thrown his weight behind his ex-teammate, sending out a tweet which translated to “respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend.” Luis Suarez, who could also be shown the exit doors, also backed his captain with a tweet containing two applause emojis.
Respeto y admiración, Leo. Todo mi apoyo, amigo.
— Carles Puyol (@Carles5puyol) August 25, 2020
It goes without saying that this development is a huge shock. While the cracks had been appearing for quite some time, it was unfathomable to imagine Messi ending his career away from Barcelona. But it seems the current malaise surrounding the club has driven the 33-year-old to take this huge decision.
Reports on Monday had claimed that Premier League giants Manchester City, managed by Messi’s former mentor Pep Guardiola, were exploring the feasibility of signing the 33-year-old. And it may so happen that the Cityzens end up landing the maestro this summer, with him now expressing his decision to leave.