Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona … for now. The soccer superstar told that he is staying at the club this upcoming season and won’t be leaving, with Manchester City the favorite to sign him once his contract expires. The Barca legend expressed his frustration with the club, and revealed they went back on their word when he asked to leave at the end of the season. Here’s what you need to know.

Messi hits out at Barca president

Talks with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu saw the club remain firm in their stance that if he wanted to leave, the €700 million release clause would need to be met, with Messi’s dad and agent Jorge Messi arguing there was no such clause. 

“I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,” he said.

“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 the entire season.

“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million clause, and that this is impossible.”

Messi wanted to avoid legal dispute

The only other option at this time was to take Barca to court, but Messi couldn’t go through with it. 

“There was another way and it was to go to trial. 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.

“Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca to court.”

This isn’t his first U-turn

This isn’t our first rodeo with Messi involving a dramatic U-turn. Messi has been one to go back on his word in the past. Just four years ago, Messi announced his retirement from the Argentina national team only to then return. It was following the loss to Chile in penalty kicks in the 2016 Copa America Centenario final. He played for the Argentina national months later but has yet to win a title on the international senior circuit. 

Where does Barca go from here?

For now, he stays at a club that is looking for a rebuild under new coach Ronald Koeman, and with club expectations as low as they have been in years. Barca failed to win a trophy last season for the first time in over a decade. 

So when could he leave?

At this stage, he could stay at the club until next June, and then he would be a free agent when his contract expires. That would give him the opportunity to sign with Manchester City, PSG or any other club without that new team having to pay a transfer fee. 

Of course, if he stays for this season, that could buy Barca more time to make him happy and convince him to stay, though it seems like his mind is made up. But in the past, we’ve seen him make up his mind and things change late. 


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