It rumbles on, with Lionel Messi insisting that he has basically now no longer a Barcelona player, but many seem to disagree. Many, including La Liga, it appears….
The Lionel Messi saga frankly keeps getting weirder.
If the whole thing wasn’t pretty odd on its own, the intervention of La Liga on Sunday afternoon added a whole new level to the weirdness.
In case you have been living in a hole somewhere, a quick catch-up: Messi thinks he can leave Barcelona because of a clause in his contract saying he could scarper if he notified the club by June 10. Because of These Unprecedented Times he believes this now effectively means the equivalent amount of time after the Champions League final actually was, as opposed to when it was supposed to be, thus ending the season. Barcelona disagree and insist if he wants to leave, he has to pay the €700million release clause.
Messi didn’t show up for a round of COVID-19 testing at Barca on Sunday, and on Monday didn’t arrive for training either because he no longer considers himself a Barcelona player. Needless to say Barcelona, and now the governing authorities, disagree, as Alvaro Romeo explained on The Totally Football Show this week.
“La Liga doesn’t accept the scenario that Cadena Ser reported: they said he could leave for free, because he didn’t sign a four-year contract in 2017 – he signed a three year contract plus an option for another year. According to this information, Messi would not have to pay the release clause.
“La Liga has taken the side of Barcelona, sending a statement on Sunday lunchtime saying Messi’s contract was still valid and that he wouldn’t be able to free himself unilaterally, unless he paid the €700million release clause.
“I don’t think La Liga had to do this: I understand why, because losing Messi after Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar is bad for the brand, but I wonder if they would have sent a statement like this if a mid-table club rather than Barcelona was involved.”
It’s easy to forget that this saga is just one in a long line of sagas at Barcelona. 2020 has been quite a year.
“So many things have happened in the last six or seven months: the social media scandal possibly have been orchestrated by the club, Quique Setien being appointed mid-season when they were top of the table, Barcelona navigating the financial crisis worse than any other club, not winning a trophy for the first time since 2008, losing 8-2 to Bayern, Pique saying he would leave if he was the problem, Ronald Koeman being appointed and then Messi saying he wants to leave.
“There has been so much news that Barcelona’s year has been like a dog year – that counts for seven.”
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