Lionel Messi’s €700 million release clause “does not apply at all” as he seeks to leave Barcelona, his father says, although LaLiga reiterated the captain cannot walk away as a free agent.
Messi last week informed Barca he wants to move on after an 2019-20 season in which they failed to win a trophy and were hammered 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Manchester City quickly emerged as suitors for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner but are reportedly only interested in a free transfer.
Messi believed an agreement in his contract meant he could leave Camp Nou at the end of the campaign without the astronomical release clause being paid.
But with the season delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Blaugrana maintained that option has expired, and LaLiga last week said the clause would still need to be paid in full.
Jorge Messi, the Argentina forward’s father and representative, responded to LaLiga’s statement on Friday, however, just a day after he had acknowledged his son might stay at Barca.
He claimed the contract showed there was “an obvious error” in LaLiga’s analysis.
Jorge Messi wrote to president Javier Tebas: “We do not know which contract you have analysed, and what are the bases on which you conclude that the ‘termination clause’ is not applicable if the player urges the unilateral termination of it with effect from the completion of the 2019-20 sports season.
“This is due to an obvious error on your part.”
Jorge quoted the relevant clause in Messi’s contract, then added: “Without prejudice to other rights that are included in the contract and that you omit, it is obvious that the compensation of 700 million euros, provided for in the previous clause 126.96.36.199, does not apply at all.”
According to his father, Messi’s contract reads: “This compensation will not apply when the termination of the contract by unilateral decision of the player takes effect from the end of the 2019-2020 sports season.”
LaLiga offered a swift response, saying his claims were “decontextualised and far from reality of the contract they signed”, before referring back to its earlier statement.
Reports in Argentina on Friday shortly after Jorge Messi’s letter emerged claimed the Barca captain would remain at the club for the coming season.