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Lionel Messi: Barcelona forward's father calls €700m release clause 'not applicable'

Jorge Messi says €700m release clause "is not applicable at all"; La Liga replies that release clause is "absolutely valid"

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Sky Sports News' Gary Cotterill says the statement released by Lionel Messi amounts to a 'declaration of war' to Barcelona

Lionel Messi's father and agent Jorge insists Barcelona's €700m release clause is "not applicable at all" and his son should be able to leave the club for free.

However, La Liga released a statement shortly after Messi's declaration, reiterating its stance that the clause needs to be paid in full if Messi is to be allowed to leave the club.

The 33-year-old informed Barca of his desire to leave via an official note last week and did not turn up for the team's first five days of pre-season training under new boss Ronald Koeman.

It led to his father and agent Jorge flying into Spain this week for crunch talks with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the club hierarchy over a possible exit.

On Sunday, La Liga dashed Messi's hopes of leaving Barcelona on a free transfer by stating his €700m release clause will have to be paid if he is to leave the Nou Camp.

However, in response to that original La Liga statement, Jorge Messi says that clause "is not applicable at all", and released a statement on Friday reading:

"Jorge Horacio Messi, as representative of the professional football player Lionel Andres Messi, in reply to the statement published on August 30th, 2020 by the National Professional Football League regarding the contractual situation of the player, and apart from its obvious partiality because of the role that institution represents in defence of the interests of its members (the football clubs), needs to state that:

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  1. We do not know which contract they have analysed, and on what basis they have concluded that it would include a "release clause" applicable in the event that the player decided to activate the unilateral termination of the contract, effective from the start of the 2019/2020 sporting season.
  2. That is due to a clear mistake from their side. So, as the clause of the contract signed by both player and club literally points out:

"This compensation will not apply when the termination of the contract by the unilateral decision of the player takes effect starting from the end of the 2019/2020 sporting season."

"Regardless of other rights that are listed in the contract and which they have omitted, it's obvious that the compensation of 700million euros, listed in the previous clause, is not applicable at all."

Lionel Messi's Barcelona exit: A timeline

Tuesday 25th August – Messi hands in an official transfer request at Barcelona, stating his wish to activate the ‘get-out’ clause in his contract that would see him leave for free.

Wednesday 26th August – Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planes says the club are “aiming to build the team around Messi” and want him to stay.

Friday 28th August – Messi requests a personal meeting with the Barcelona hierarchy and his lawyers to discuss a solution to his transfer request. He is spotted leaving a restaurant in Barcelona after a dinner with close friend Luis Suarez, also on his way out of the club.

Sunday 30th August – Messi does not turn up for Barcelona’s pre-season coronavirus testing. La Liga release a statement backing Barcelona’s stance on the dispute over his contract, stating he will only leave if his €700m release clause is paid in full.

Monday 31st August – Messi does not turn up for Barcelona’s first training session under new boss Ronald Koeman.

Wednesday 2nd September – Messi’s father and agent Jorge flies into Barcelona from Rosario in Argentina for crunch talks with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the board. He says it is “difficult” for his son to stay at the club.

Thursday 3rd September – Talks between Jorge Messi and Bartomeu carry on into a second day.

Friday 4th September – Jorge Messi releases a statement claiming Barcelona's €700m release clause "is not applicable at all". La Liga issues another statement refuting this.

A few minutes later the Spanish league released another statement backing up their original stance and stressing that, despite the comments from Messi's camp, they will require the fee to be paid in full if they let Messi leave.

"La Liga has forwarded a response to the message sent by the representatives of the player Lionel Messi," the statement read.

"This answer highlights and confirms that their interpretation is out of context and far from the literality of the contract, so La Liga reiterates the statement published on August 30th."

Messi statement a 'declaration of war'

Sky Sports News reporter Gary Cotterill in Barcelona...

As far as the Messi camp are concerned, La Liga and Barcelona have got it wrong, there is a get-out clause and it is still relevant.

They say it has been triggered by Lionel Messi and he can leave for free.

If they were prepared to admit they couldn't win this battle and he will stay for another year before leaving for free, they wouldn't have issued this statement.

This, to me, says they are determined to live up to their 'right' to leave for nothing. If it takes a legal battle with lawyers involved, we may well see that.

It is a declaration from the Messis that they are not having it, that Lionel Messi is allowed to leave for free.

What is the situation with Messi's buy-out clause?

Messi had, for a while at least, believed he could walk away from Barcelona on a free transfer by exercising a clause in his contract which stipulated he could leave at the end of every season without a single euro being paid to the club.

Even though the deadline to exercise the clause has passed, Messi's lawyers believe Barcelona should honour it as the season had to be extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, La Liga has bolstered Barcelona's stance, with the club insisting the clause has expired and the only way Messi will be allowed to leave is if his €700m release clause is paid in full.

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