The record-breaking No. 10 will be free to negotiate terms with any club he wishes from January onwards, but his current employer is not concerned
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that Lionel Messi is free to leave Camp Nou for nothing at the end of the season if the Argentine wizard wishes.
Spanish daily El Pais caused a stir this week by revealing a clause in Messi’s contract which gives him the option to rescind his deal in Catalunya with no cost from June 2020 onwards.
Messi is currently under contract until 2021 with Barca, having spent the entirety of his professional career at the club.
That revelation, subsequently confirmed by Goal , caused certain anxiety amongst Barca fans worried they could lose their star when 2019-20 comes to a close.
Supporters of other clubs, most notably hometown idols Newell’s Old Boys, conversely are dreaming of a transfer coup unthinkable prior to the clause becoming public knowledge.
But Bartomeu moved to calm concerns by explaining it was a common courtesy that the club extends to its playing legends.
“Messi signed until 2021. It was agreed that at the end of the penultimate season he is at liberty to leave for free,” the Blaugrana president told Barca TV .
“He has earned that freedom to decide his future, but he is very Cule and I am calm. Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol had the same clause.
“We couldn’t give Messi a different clause, but I repeat, I am in no doubt he will stay for many years.”
Bartomeu’s statement echoed sentiments expressed by Gerard Pique, who confirmed on Friday that he was also aware of the Argentina‘s contract situation.
“I already knew Messi is able to leave for free at the end of each season,” Pique explained to Cadena Ser .
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“But we all know the commitment Leo has to Barca and it doesn’t worry me at all. He’s earned the right to be able to choose what he does with his future after everything he’s given the club.”
Messi arrived at Barca at the age of 13 after leaving Newell’s when the Rosario side could not continue funding his hormone growth treatments.
He has gone on to become the greatest player in Blaugrana history, with 671 competitive goals for the club and 34 major titles, including four of the five Champions League titles ever lifted by Barca.