La Liga has dashed Lionel Messi’s hopes of leaving Barcelona on a free transfer by stating his release clause will have to be paid if he is to leave the Nou Camp.
Messi notified Barcelona this week that he intends to walk away from the club by exercising a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for free at the end of each season.
Even though the deadline to exercise the clause has passed, Messi’s lawyers believe Barcelona should honour it as the season had to be extended because of the coronavirus pandemic, Sky reports.
However, LaLiga have now bolstered Barcelona’s stance, with the club insisting that the clause has expired and the only way Messi will be allowed to leave is if his €700m release clause is paid in full.
A LaLiga statement on Sunday read: “With regard to the different interpretations (some of which are contradictory) relating to the current contractual situation of FC Barcelona footballer Lionel Andres Messi that have been published across various media outlets in recent days, having analysed the player’s contract with the club, LaLiga would like to clarify the following.
“The contract is currently valid and contains a release clause which is applicable should Lionel Messi decide to trigger the early unilateral termination of the contract, in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985 of 26 June, which regulates the special employment status that professional sportspeople have.
“In compliance with the applicable regulations and protocol that apply in such instances, LaLiga will not carry out the prior visa-release process for the player to be unregistered from the (Royal Spanish Football) Federation if the sum in the aforementioned clause has not been paid beforehand.”