Messi skips Barcelona preseason; $833-million release clause must be paid

Lionel Messi transfer
Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Lionel Messi transfer update: On the same day Messi opted not to report for mandatory medical testing on the first day of Barcelona’s preseason, La Liga announced that the $833-million release clause in his contract is still valid and must be paid in full in order to secure his release from the club.

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Messi gave official notice to the club on Tuesday that he intends to depart and wishes to exercise a clause in his contract that allows him to leave the club for free at the end of each season. The clause was reportedly due to expire on May 30, 2020, but Messi and his representation believe it should be extended much in the same way out-of-contract players’ contracts were extended upon returning from the COVID-19 shutdown.

There were additional reports on Saturday that claimed the $833-million release clause was no longer valid in the final year of the contract, but La Liga says otherwise.

“In compliance with the applicable rule, La Liga will not approve a request to be deregistered as a player with the Spanish football federation, unless the amount in the release clause has been paid.”

Messi was due to arrive at Barcelona’s training ground for COVID-19 testing upon reporting for the start of preseason. While the rest of the club’s players were captured on video footage, the undisputed greatest player of all time was nowhere to be found. As a result, Messi will be legally unable to participate in new manager Ronald Koeman’s first training session on Monday.

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Along with informing Barca that he wishes to leave, Messi has reportedly told PSG thanks but no thanks as he pushes for a reunion with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola at Man City.

It would appear all parties are headed for a lengthy legal battle in the ongoing Lionel Messi transfer saga.