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Lionel Messi Formally Asks to Leave FC Barcelona
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Lionel Messi has told Barcelona that he wants to leave the club after nearly 20 years, and he now wants to move to Manchester City, according to Marcelo Bechler of Esporte Interativo. CBS Sports Champions League correspondent Guillem Balague confirmed that the club received Messi’s message via fax and Barcelona insist that his clause to leave the team before the 2020-21 season has already expired. Barca held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to figure out the next steps, according to CBS Sports transfer insider Fabrizio Romano.

The 33-year-old Argentine superstar is aiming to transfer to a new team and start a new chapter in his life after a poor end to last season that culminated with Barca being destroyed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals. Barca failed to win a trophy for the first time in over a decade during the 2019-20 season.

The move to City would make sense for a few reasons: City actually have the economic resources to acquire him, and on top of that, some of Messi’s best years were under current manager Pep Guardiola. The likely cherry on top is that Messi’s close friend Sergio Aguero plays for the club.

Messi’s decision came after meeting with new manager Ronald Koeman, who has already told Luis Suarez to pack his bags, according to the report. Messi reportedly has a clause in his contract that would allow him to exit the club before the start of the 2020-21 season. It was believed that the clause would have expired in June, but reports say Messi’s camp is confident it still applies due to the change in the schedule with the club’s season having ended in August instead of May. With the club telling Balague it has expired, the two sides could be headed for a legal standoff. 

Messi joined Barca in 2001 as a youth player and made his debut for the senior side in 2004. Since then, he’s won every trophy multiple times and has scored 634 goals in 731 games for the club, putting together what is viewed by many as the greatest individual career in history. Here’s a look at Messi’s 20-year run with the club, which has cemented his status as the biggest legend in club history.

More to come as this story develops. 

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