Argentinian ace Lionel Messi decided to announce his decision to depart from the Catalan giants after the new boss at the Nou Camp, Ronald Koeman, told him his privileges in the Barca dressing room would be revoked.
According to reports, Messi’s future had already up in the air after Barcelona’s humiliating defeat at the hands of eventual Champions League winners Barcelona in the quarter-finals of Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
“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 Dutch coach told Messi according to Diaro Olé.
Messi’s decision to leave the club was saluted by his former captain Carlos Puyol, whose tweet earned a few clap emojis from Luis Suarez, another Barca stalwart believed to be under Koeman’s crosshairs.
A bruising battle between club and player now appears to be on the cards, with Messi pointing to a clause in his contract that states that he can leave for free at the end of every season while Barcelona look set to argue that this grace period lapsed in June when the season was on pause due to Covid-19.
The Argentinian maestro has an unrealistic $828 million release clause, which would be a record in the sport should any club fork out that kind of money.
Forbes values Barcelona at $4.02 billion, and few other teams able to afford Messi’s sky-high wages, particularly as clubs face a revenue shortfall while returning to play without fans in the stands amid the pandemic.
The Barca captain’s decision has piled more pressure on Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, with some protesting fans asking him to depart from one of the world’s biggest sporting brands.