Lionel Messi says he will STAY at Barcelona to ‘avoid a legal dispute’

Lionel Messi has made it clear today that he intends to stay at Barcelona for the coming season following a contract dispute with the club.

Lawyers for Messi told Barcelona last week that he wanted to activate a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave at no cost before the 2020-21 season. However, the club disputed the claim saying the clause expired on June 10, a position backed by LaLiga, meaning paying his €700million (£632m) release clause is the only way to trigger a transfer.

It was back in August that Messi sent a memo to FC Barcelona, saying he wished to exercise a clause in his contract, allowing him to leave for free with immediate effect.

The footballer has ‘reluctantly’ decided to stay on at Barca but says the club president ‘did not keep his word’. The Argentinian forward apparently handed in a transfer request last week but reversed his decision after an argument broke out over his contract.

In a statement, Messi said, quote: “I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not. Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.”

                                    Josep Maria Bartomeu and Leo Messi confirm the deal. image: Twitter

In what is a major blow to Manchester City’s hopes of snatching the 33-year-old, who many believe is the best player in the world, Barcelona has reached a resolution in the drawn-out talks with Messi’s representatives. The player’s father, Jorge Messi, has been locked in talks with the Spanish club for the last three days, but after issuing a letter earlier in the day that stressed Messi’s contract – which contained a €700m (£624m) release clause – no longer applies following the conclusion of the 2019/20 season, the Argentina international has completed a U-turn and will remain at the Nou Camp for the season ahead as he does not want to take the club to court.

As far back as July Messi had plans to leave Barcelona as the superstar was apparently ‘fed up’ of the blame game in Spain.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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