BARCELONA

Messi could be fined after failing to show for RT-PCR test

The Argentinean, who was due to report to the Ciutat Esportiva at 10:15 hours to undergo his test, did not turn up. It ups the stakes in his ongoing conflict with Barcelona.

Leo Messi openly made a declaration of war with FC Barcelona this morning. Until now, his battle with the club had been conducted through lawyers and burofaxes through which, both sides have stated their arguments - Messi has announced that he wants to leave the club and Barcelona have told him that he is under contract and not for sale.

Messi fails to show up for PCR test

It was rumoured that Messi was planning not to show up for his RT-PCR test today and he remained true to his word. All members of the first team squad were given an individual time to turn up at their Ciutat Deportiva with testing staggered throughout the morning. Jordi Alba and Martin Braithwaite were the first to arrive, at just after 8:00 hours, they were followed by Marc-André ter Stegen and Rafinha. But there was no sign of Messi, who was due to report at the training ground at 10:15 hours. His close friend Luis Suárez, arrived at 10:05 on his own and with a very serious as he drove past reporters.

As far as Barcelona are concerned, Messi remains under contract at the club and therefore must comply with all of his obligations - including this morning's PCR test. However, that viewpoint is not shared by the player or his lawyers, who feel that after informing the club by burofax that he wants to leave, he no longer has to follow club orders.

Messi could face disciplinary action

By failing to show up at the Ciutat Esportiva for his PCR test, Messi is automatically ruled out of taking part in Monday's training session which has been programmed for 17:30 hours. It also leaves Barcelona with two options - to serve Messi a fine for breaching the terms of his contract by failing to show up for work or begin the process of releasing the player. It putsJosep Maria Bartomeu in a difficult position as he does not want to go down in history as the president who sold the best player in the world. Messi and his legal team hope to resolve the matter amicably and without the need of going through the law courts.