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Messi staying at Barcelona

The Argentinean announced that he would be staying at the club, having previously said he was unilaterally ending his contract. Messi says he cannot take Barça to court.

The Argentinean announced that he would be staying at the club, having previously said he was unilaterally ending his contract. Messi says he cannot take Barça to court.

Leo Messi is staying at Barcelona. The player, who had told the club by burofax (a certified letter) that he wanted to leave the club has now backtracked on that decision and will stay at the club for at least another season. He announced the news in an exclusive interview on Goal.

Messi refuses to take Barcelona to court

In the interview Messi explains that he wanted to head further afield, "to compete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League. You can win it or lose in it, because it is very difficult, but you have to compete."

Messi says he thought he was free to leave because, "the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not, now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season."

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is insisting Messi cannot leave without paying the €700 million buy-out clause, because Messi failed to end his contract by June 10. Messi says that with Barcelona refusing to back down he would need to take them to court to force his way out of the club, something he is not willing to do.

"I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, which gave me everything since I arrived. It is the club of my life, I have made my life here. Barça gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barça to court.”

Messi said he wanted to leave

On 25 August this year, Messi sent the club of his life notification that he would be unilaterally ending his contract and leaving the club. Under his interpretation of the legal document, he was able to leave for free provided he told Barcelona before the end of the 19/20 season - with the coronavirus extending the season into August, Messi felt he could now head out of the door without a buy-out clause, presumably having decided there was no hope of winning trophies in 20/21 after the complete destruction of the team by Bayern in the Champions League and institutional difficulties within the club to rebuild.

Barcelona let it be known they had no intention of Messi leaving for free, with their understanding being that the player's buy-out clause still applied and that the player's contract only allowed him to leave up to some point in June. LaLiga weighed in on the side of the club to say Messi's registration would not be able to be transferred without payment of the clause.

Rumours suggested that Manchester City were in prime position to land the player if he were able to leave, but only if the full buy-out could be avoided - under Financial Fair  Play rules there was no way City could stump up €700 million euros. Their plan was to entice Messi with a salary slightly above his Barça wages, but with a huge €250 million signing bonus for a move to Manchester City sister club New York City after two years in the Premier League.

Events began to move more rapidly this week, beginning 31 August, once Leo Messi's dad, Jorge Messi, arrived in Barcelona for talks with Barcelona President Bartomeu. Although the positions were miles apart, with Jorge Messi demanding his son be allowed to leave for free and Bartomeu saying he could only leave if the buy-out clause was paid, the club's point-blank refusal to negotiate appears to have changed the thinking in the Messi camp, keen to avoid starting a legal war that could drag on for years and be extremely expensive.

Messi at Barcelona

Leo Messi joined Barcelona at the age of 13 and has been with the club ever since. He made his first team debut at 16 years, four months and 23 days old, in a friendly against Porto, and played in his first competitive match for the side against Espanyol, coming on in the 82nd minute. At that time he was the youngest player to represent Barça in a competitive match, at 17 years, three months and 22 days old.

In his career with Barcelona he's played 763 matches, scoring 645 goals. He's won a record six Ballon d'Ors and six Golden Shoes. He's also Argentina's all time leading goalscorer, with 49 competitive and 37 friendly goals.


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