Report: Barcelona think Messi could sit out season to force move

Barcelona believe the only way Lionel Messi can force his way out of the club is by going on strike for the 2020-21 season, according to a report from ESPN UK’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.

The Catalan giants and Messi are at an impasse after La Liga backed Barcelona’s interpretation of a unilateral clause in the Argentine’s contract that would have allowed him to leave the club this summer on a free transfer.

According to the club and La Liga, that clause has expired, meaning Messi would have to sit out the upcoming season and forgo his wages before leaving next summer when his deal expires.

La Liga’s statement added Messi’s registration with a new club would not be permitted unless the €700-million release clause in his contract is matched.

Messi’s legal representatives contend the special clause, signed in 2017, should be extended due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent work stoppage.

The 33-year-old’s legal team also argue that Messi has already triggered the stipulation in his terms, and the six-time Ballon d’Or winner was advised not to appear at Sunday’s COVID-19 testing or Monday’s preseason start so as not to compromise that claim.

The standoff is expected to result in a legal battle as the two primary parties insist on different interpretations of Messi’s contract.

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