Lionel Messi decided to hand in a transfer request after he was told ‘your privileges in the squad are over’ by new Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman.
The 33-year-old had been considering his future at the Nou Camp after a trophyless season ended with a humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, which prompted the sacking of coach Quique Setién
Koeman was quickly installed as Setién’s replacement, after which Messi reportedly told the Dutchman that he saw himself ‘more out of the club than in it’.
Lionel Messi delivered his bombshell after talks with new Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman
Argentine news outlet Diario Olé claims at a meeting Koeman told Messi: ‘Your privileges in the squad are over, you have to do everything for the team. I’m going to be inflexible, you have to think about the team.’
The frank exchange reportedly convinced Messi that now is the time for him to leave the club.
The dramatic move piled the pressure on Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu
Fans were heard shouting ‘Bartomeu resign!’ outside the club’s headquarters but Bartomeu on Tuesday night insisted he is not considering resigning.
Fans gathered outside the club’s offices to call for president Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign
Barcelona fans were heard shouting ‘Bartomeu resign!’ outside the club’s headquarters
Messi communicated to Barcelona via fax on Tuesday that he wants to leave the club on a free transfer this summer.
The extraordinary development potentially puts the 33-year-old within reach of a dramatic move to Manchester City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola.
Manchester United, PSG, Inter Milan and Juventus are also showing early interest.
Talisman Messi has reportedly made up his mind to leave Barcelona this summer
The Argentine journalist close to the player, Veronica Brunati, broke the story on Tuesday and it was subsequently confirmed by sources close to the Catalan club.
Messi’s bold move was immediately praised by Carles Puyol who tweeted: ‘Respect and admiration Leo. All my support, amigo.’
Puyol’s tweet was then applauded in a reply from Luis Suarez.
Messi’s discontent is nothing new but the possibility of a free transfer is.
The attacker’s future has been cast into doubt after a poor season for the club on and off pitch
Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol praised the move and Luis Suarez applauded his tweet
The suggestion is that Messi believes a clause in his contract allowing him to walk away for nothing is still valid because the season ended in August and not May because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona say the deadline for Messi to leave for free passed in June and will contest the player’s argument that the deadline changed when the season was rearranged after lockdown.
Messi is supposed to report for the new season on Sunday for a scheduled coronavirus test but has no intention of meeting up with new coach Ronald Koeman or attending Monday’s subsequent first…