Lionel Messi adamant contract clause means he can leave Barcelona for free
The club legend failed to appear for planned pre-season testing.
Lionel Messi's ongoing battle with Barcelona took another turn, this weekend, as the Argentine failed to turn up for planned pre-season testing after telling the club that he is no longer contracted to them.
According to journalist Marcelo Bechler, Messi sent an official statement to the club stating that, as per the unilateral termination clause in his contract, he is now free to move clubs for no fee.
Messi's stance is based on the assumption that a clause in his contract which allows him to leave on a free at the end of the season was still active when he activated it earlier this month. Barcelona insist it has expired, while Messi believes the extension to the season rendered the clause still active and valid at the time he notified the club of his desire to leave.
The club are expected to demand at least a portion of his €700 million release clause if they are to relent and allow him to leave Camp Nou.
Messi é aguardado neste momento no CT do Barcelona, mas não irá fazer os exames da pré-temporada.
Não vai porque já enviou um comunicado oficial ao Barcelona dizendo que deixa de ser jogador do clube, apoiando-se na cláusula de rescisão unilateral.
— Marcelo Bechler (@marcelobechler) August 30, 2020
According to Sky Sports, Messi has requested a meeting with the club's hierarchy to move beyond the impasse at which they currently find themselves.
On Saturday, it was revealed that Barca had cut longstanding ties with the law firm Cuatrecasas for advising Messi on his departure from the club. The law firm had represented both parties for a number of years.
Meanwhile, it is now being reported by Marca that Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu offered Griezmann back to former club Atlético Madrid in exchange for Joao Felix, who they signed to replace the France international.
Atlético chief Miguel Angel Gil Marin promptly rejected the proposal, still set on making a success of Felix at the Wanda Metropolitano.
The irony running through this entire fiasco is that Griezmann is much better suited to playing the Simeone way, while Felix has struggled to adapt to his style and would probably be better suited to the style that Barça try to play. Such is the stubborn nature of elite football clubs, this swap deal would be a mutual admission of poor recruitment and will therefore never happen.
Griezmann has not been a success at Barcelona. It was obvious from the outset that he didn't fit into their team and it would be a vast waste of money to spend north of €100m on a player who has spent the last five years playing in a completely different system.
Alas, Bartomeu does not appear to possess such critical thinking skills and signed him anyway, one of 29 players he's brought in since 2015, most of whom have been complete flops.
Former Barcelona coach Quique Setien, when questioned why he took so long to bring Griezmann on while chasing a game, recently said it was because he upsets the balance of the team.