Lionel Messi, who has been named world player of the year a record six times, has told Barcelona on Tuesday he wishes to leave immediately the club where he spent his entire career. He referred to a clause in the last contract the 33-year-old Argentine signed with the club that allowed him to leave for free. But the clause that expired on June 10 this year and now the only way Messi can leave without the club’s consent is if a rival side pays his release clause of 700 million euros ($1.15 billion). The Argentinian’s request to leave the club comes a day after Spanish media reported that new coach Ronald Koeman told Messi’s close friend and strike partner, Luis Suarez, that he does not wish the Uruguayan to stay at the club.
Messi has helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions League crowns. In the last year he was unhappy with how the club is being run. The 33-year-old’s contract runs until June 2021. The club hinted that a legal battle could be coming. Only a handful of clubs could realistically afford to pay his wages even without a transfer fee. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are seen as perhaps the most likely destinations.