However, Barca says Messi remains under contract with them till the end of the 2021 season.

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The rumours that were doing the rounds ever since Barcelona's 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final, that their star player Leo Messi wanted out, are now confirmed to be true. A club source has confirmed that Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to unilaterally terminate his contract with the Blaugranes.

In a fax to the club, Messi's lawyers declared Messi's wish to rescind his contract by way of a release clause.

That clause, however, expired in June, as per the club and he remains under contract with them till the end of the 2021 season.

Spanish daily Marca reported, "In principle, this clause expired on June 10, but the unusual nature of this season disrupted by the (global virus) opened the way for Messi to ask to be released from his contract now.

"It's the first step towards opening negotiations over his departure, on the basis of which his release clause amounts to 700 million euros."

As per Spanish media, Messi told newly appointed Barca coach Ronald Koeman last week that he was 'more out than in' the club.

'Messi cannot leave now'

Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has slammed the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's decision to leave Barca on a free transfer.

"I have seen the contract and it is very clear. The clause ended in June and there is no going back," said Gaspart.

"I prefer him to leave next year for zero than to go now for less than €700 million.

"The club is in charge here, not the player. The club paid the players. And this is not a matter of money, there is a signed contract and that's it."

Gaspart, who presided over the club from 2000-2003, questioned Messi's sense of loyalty as well, "Does he think that Barcelona have not helped him to be what he is?"

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Josep Lago