Lionel Messi was not present in training with Barcelona on Saturday morning despite his decision to stay at the club, AFP reporters at the training ground confirmed.
The Argentine forward announced on Friday he had been forced to remain at the Nou Camp, claiming club president Josep Maria Bartomeu broke his word to let him leave the club.
It came after 10 days of tension since he dropped a bombshell fax telling Barcelona that he wanted to seek a move away from the club.
But while other players which includes Jordi Alba and Philippe Coutinho arrived for the training session, Messi failed to appear at the Joan Gamper training complex for the session.
Last Sunday, Lionel Messi deliberately missed the mandatory coronavirus test for Barcelona players. According to local media, the 33-year-old forward must first pass the coronavirus test with a return to the team possible on Monday.
He could then feature in Ronald Koeman’s first match as Barca manager, a friendly against third division Nastic on 12 September.
Messi’s current contract runs out next summer when he will be available to leave for free, with Manchester City waiting in the wings to sign the player.
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It became clear that this summer that Barcelona would insist Messi left for nothing less than his £623million release clause present in his contract.
It was made clear the only way that would change was if the Spanish side were challenged in court.
However, Messi could not bring himself to drag the club into a legal battle despite believing he has the right to leave on a free transfer due to a stipulation in his contract with the club.