The Argentine informed Barcelona of his decision through burofax.
The day that many Barcelona supporters feared is here as Lionel Messi has informed the club that his desire is to leave Barça this summer.
The Argentine has had enough of the poor planning by the current board and believe nothing will change with Josep Maria Bartomeu at the helm.
According to Diario Olé, his mind was made up following the conversation he had with new manager Ronald Koeman in which he was left taken aback by some of his words.
Rumors of Messi leaving Barcelona were brought up in the past. Most recently after the Liverpool loss in which the team blew a three-goal advantage from the first leg.
Messi himself quelled those rumors in an interview where he stated that he would be at the club for as long as they would have him. But he also said that he wanted to be presented with a proper sporting project that would ensure the club could compete on all fronts.
Following the humiliation against Bayern Munich and the poor league season that saw the Catalan side go trophyless, it looks like enough was enough for Messi.
The way his teammates have been treated since the Champions League exit by Bartomeu likely didn’t help as Luis Suarez was told to find a new club as he was no longer wanted.
Messi’s plan is for the club to respect the clause in his contract that would have allowed him to leave at the end of the season on a free. According to Sport, Barcelona have replied stating that the clause expired on June 10th and that if he wants to leave, a team is going to have to pay his €700 million release clause.
Unless either side have a miraculous change of heart, this is likely heading to court which is not how many envisioned his time at Barcelona ending.
In any case, it looks like Messi has made up his mind and there is no going back. He is not going to taking any of the medical exams nor will he be showing up to the team’s first training session.
Barcelona were preparing for a summer clear out but had made it explicitly known that the rebuild was going to rely on Messi. Now their plans have been rendered useless.
His decision is not something that should have taken the board by surprise. Messi’s dislike towards the current Barcelona board is well documented. He’s been more vocal than seasons past and came out after Ernesto Valverde’s dismissal and former sporting director Eric Abidal’s claim that the players weren’t giving as much effort as before.
Still, this is not how the best player in Barcelona history should be ending his time at the club. Though it looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen/
He will have no shortage of suitors lining up to sign. Manchester City are likely the odds-on favorites.
As for Bartomeu and company, they’ll forever be known for their dismantling of Barcelona and for the greatest player of all time leaving on their watch.