Messi can’t leave Barca for free as La Liga says €700m release clause valid.

Spanish topflight, the La Liga, has waded into the controversy surrounding the planned exit of Lionel Messi from Barcelona.

The 33-year-old Argentine last Tuesday made his intention known to the club, he wants to leave the Catalan giants in this summer transfer window.

Messi is however wishing to invoke a clause that would allow him to depart the club for free but Barcelona argue the deadline for that has expired.

La Liga, in a statement on Sunday, said the 700m euros release clause in Messi’s Barcelona contract is still valid despite the coronavirus-induced elongation of the season.

La Liga also says it will not de-register the player unless the clause is met.

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

Messi did not attend a pre-season medical on Sunday. He was due at Barcelona’s training ground at 10.15a.m local time on Sunday but did not attend.

The forward’s lawyers plan to exercise a clause in his four-year contract, signed in 2017, which would have allowed him to leave the club for free if he had requested to do so by 10 June, 2020.

They will argue that date, nominally the end of the season, is now irrelevant after the coronavirus delays that led to the season’s extension and the team playing deep into August.


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