Josep Bartomeu, Barcelona President has confirmed rumours that there is a clause in Lionel Messi’s contract that will allow him leave the Catalan club at the end of this season.
It also means that the five-time Ballond’Or winner could leave for free if he doesn’t sign a new deal at Camp Nou before the end of the current campaign.
The Argentine signed a new four-year deal with the La LIga champions in 2017, which should see him stay in Spain until 2020/21 season, but Bartomeu revealed that the player is free to end his contract before time.
However, the Barcelona president said the club are calm about the playmaker’s future.
“Leo Messi has a contract through to the 2020/21 season, but the player is able to leave Barca before the final season,” Bartomeu told Barcelona’s in-house television channel on Friday.
“It’s the same case as with the final contracts that Xavi, (Carles) Puyol and (Andres) Iniesta had. They are players who deserve that liberty, and we shouldn’t worry, as they are very committed to Barca.
“We want Messi to play for Barca through to 2021 and beyond. We are very calm.”
Messi, who is the club’s record goalscorer, is currently injured with a calf injury, with the team struggling in his absence. They have only managed to pick just four points from their opening three La Liga matches.
They won the Spanish league last season, but were beaten by Liverpool and eventual winner of last season’s Champions League in the semi-finals.
They have been paired in a group that contains Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan for this season’s competition.
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