Report: Messi-Barcelona legal battle likely due to exit clause debate

Messi Barcelona legal battle
Photo by Xavi Torrent/WireImage
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Is a Messi-Barcelona legal battle inevitable?

Let’s continue with two more questions.

[ MORE: Messi asks to leave Barcelona ]

Remember that June 1 report that Lionel Messi’s exit clause had expired and he would stay at Barcelona through the 2020-21 season?

And remember that day is decidedly after June 1 and Lionel Messi has just asked to leave the Catalan club?

Don’t expect a quick and easy resolution to this one if Messi’s $820 million release clause is the only route out of town.

According to the BBC, the club and its greatest player are set for a protracted legal battle because Barcelona believes his contract dictated that Messi had to opt out before June 10.

Messi believes that the clause is set for the end of Barcelona’s season, which lasted well past June into August because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The same report states that Barcelona is expected to pull out all the stops. Those include a possible rushed presidential election to remove embattled boss Josep Maria Bartomeu, who has overseen a tumultuous tenure as club president.

Could that be Messi’s end game? The BBC report says it’s expected that Messi will want to leave regardless of whether Bartomeu stays, and the latter’s exit has seemed predestined for some time.

That said, there will certainly be new details in the coming days as Messi’s camp, Bartomeu’s people, and Barcelona as a club hit up their contacts in the media. Perhaps Messi had a gentleman’s agreement revolving around the Champions League, for example.

But Messi holds all the cards here. He could engineer Bartomeu’s exit if he wants and still leave for greener pastures like a fairly logical and rich move to Man City for a reunion with Pep Guardiola.

Prepare for a wild ride, because even clubs like City and PSG will have a world of trouble spending more than $800 million (That’s a whole club worth of make-goods).