Jorge Messi — who is also his son’s agent — arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday to try to break the deadlock over the player’s bid to leave the club for free.
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In a statement released on Friday, Jorge quoted a clause in Messi’s contract which states that “this compensation will not apply when the resolution of the contract, by the unilateral decision of the player, takes effect from the end of the 2019-20 sporting season.”
He added: “It’s obvious that the compensation of €700m… does not apply at all.”
Messi’s statement comes in response to one issued by La Liga last Sunday, in which the league sided strongly with Barca and against Messi.
La Liga said it had analysed the player’s contract, which remained valid with an active release clause — set at €700m — and that Messi’s deregistration to allow his transfer would not be processed without that amount being paid.
The league was standing by that analysis of the contract on Friday, describing Messi’s interpretation of the clause in question as “taken out of context.”
Messi and his advisers had been discussing their next steps after Jorge Messi met Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu for talks on Wednesday aimed at resolving the situation.
Messi notified the club of his desire to leave on Aug. 25, believing a clause in his contract allowed him to do so for free.
Barca argued that the clause had already expired, Messi was under contract until 2021 — a position subsequently backed by La Liga — and that an attempt to leave now without paying his buyout clause would risk legal action.
Messi, 33, has been refusing to attend training sessions with new coach Ronald Koeman this week.
Barca sources told ESPN that Wednesday’s meeting was positive and constructive, and the club are not ruling out Messi staying for another season.
The club believe Messi has no doubts about their sporting project, but rather is motivated by his search for new challenges on and off the pitch.
Messi and his legal team had made no public comment, though, until Friday’s statement was released.
ESPN has reported that if Messi does move, Manchester City are favourites to sign him.
The club have been looking into the finances involved since Messi spoke to coach Pep Guardiola, with a possible deal involving a spell at City before joining New York City FC.