The Lionel Messi latest update from Barcelona has arrived as the debate around whether or not the legendary player will actually leave rumbles on.
News broke on Tuesday that Messi, 33, has handed in notice to Barcelona saying he will end his contract this summer. After a 19-year stay at Barcelona, Messi has a clause in his contract which he can activate at the end of each season so he can leave for free.
He previously hadn’t activated that clause, obviously, but now things are different. Barcelona have just had their first trophyless season since 2007-08 and with Quique Setien fired after their humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, new boss Ronald Koeman has a huge rebuild on his hands.
Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planes had this to say on Wednesday, as Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was quiet on the subject.
“What’s happened has happened and our idea is to build a team around the most important player in the world,” Planes said. “We want to build another winning cycle led by the best player in the world, the best in history. Barca and Leo are like a marriage, where both have given so much to each other, and have brought so much joy to the fans. I think the future is positive. I am an optimist.”
“We need experienced players like Leo Messi, as well as players for the team’s future. We are putting every effort into ensuring that the relationship between Barca and Messi will continue. We are working internally to convince Leo. Barca has rebuilt itself many times in the past years and it always comes back stronger and right now we are at that stage.”
Planes’ comments came as Barcelona unveiled new signing Trincao, while Bartomeu’s only comment of the day was congratulating Trincao on his arrival at the Nou Camp. With a huge rebuild coming, Barcelona clearly want Messi to be the figurehead for it. He clearly doesn’t want to go through that at the only club he’s ever played for.
The Messi latest update is, well, messy.
Barcelona seem to be totally ignoring the fact that he has asked to leave and wants to activate the clause where he can do so for free. It is believed that Bartomeu and the current Barcelona hierarchy are going to challenge the legality of the clause and will not let Messi leave this summer unless someone pays his $820 million release clause. Many believe Messi just wants Bartomeu to resign and then he will reconsider, but things have gotten very complicated very quickly.
This will get messy for Messi. Barcelona aren’t going to make it easy for him to leave, it seems.