La Liga have confirmed in an official statement that Lionel Messi’s release clause at Barcelona is still active and that any side interested in his signature will have to pay £632m.
The 33-year-old informed Barcelona last week of his desire to leave after nearly two decades at the Camp Nou.
Messi’s team told Barcelona about their plans to exercise a clause in his contract which allowed him to leave for nothing at the end of every campaign.
But, Barca have been insistent that this clause was not valid anymore and that he would be going nowhere unless any club pays the funds to trigger his release clause.
La Liga has now backed Barcelona’s stance by releasing a statement reading: “In compliance with the applicable rule, La Liga will not approve a request to be de-registered as a player with the Spanish football federation, unless the amount in the release clause has been paid.”
Messi was absent as the players underwent coronavirus testing this weekend, meaning he will not be involved in the club’s first training session under Ronald Koeman on Monday.
He told the club that he would not be attending via Burofax and discussions between the two parties are expected to continue, with a view to finding a solution.
It is believed Messi is open to joining Pep Guardiola at Manchester City this summer but the statement from La Liga on his release clause will likely get in the way of any possible deal with the club.
Guardiola’s former assistant, Mikel Arteta, has been unhappy with Messi’s situation but concedes he would love to see him playing in the Premier League next campaign.
‘He has been linked everywhere, you know?,’ the Arsenal head coach said prior to the Community Shield game against Liverpool.
‘He has more clubs than any other player in history after him. I’ve been a Barcelona fan since I was young and it’s always sad to see, who in my opinion has been the best player in football history, leave that football club. Let’s see what happens, if he comes to England we’re all going to enjoy it.
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‘It doesn’t matter. It’s good for football. We’ll have to find a way, if it’s not here we might find him in the Champions League, you never know. You want the best players in your league and for me that’s the best thing, to have the most competitive league in the world.
‘The Premier League has always had that. The times with Ronaldo, I played against him and it was great because it raises the level of every individual and every team as well.’