Barcelona legend Lionel Messi has submitted a transfer request, asking to leave the club. Sources have confirmed that the 33-year-old, has sent a fax to Barcelona asking the club to activate a clause in his contract that will allow him to leave on a free transfer this summer, with his deal currently set to expire at the end of next season.
Rumors of Messi’s unhappiness have been swirling since Bayern Munich humiliated Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final on August 14, ending a season that saw the club fail to win any trophy.
Following that match, Barcelona sacked head coach Quique Setien as well as technical manager Eric Abidal. They subsequently hired Ronald Koeman to replace Setien, with the Dutchman expressing his desire to keep the Argentine star at Camp Nou but it appears Koeman was unable to convince the side’s talisman to become a part of his project.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has previously insisted that Messi will end his career at Camp Nou as his future continues to be questioned.
Bartomeu has moved the club’s presidential elections to March 2021 as he looks to keep hold of a position that would become even more precarious if he is to oversee Messi’s departure.
With his desire to leave confirmed, attention will turn to Messi’s potential next destination, with very few clubs likely able to afford the Argentine’s wages.
Messi has established himself as one of football’s all-time greatest players after initially making the breakthrough in 2004.
The 33-year-old has won La Liga on 10 occasions and lifted the Champions League four times — though Barca has been shut out from European club football’s biggest prize since the 2014-15 season.
On an individual level, Messi has won the Ballon d’Or on a record of six times, including a run of four consecutive times between 2009 and 2012 as well as the most recent award in 2019.