Lionel Messi News: Barcelona president confirms the Argentine ace can leave the club at the end of any season
What's the story?
In case you didn't know...
A recent report published in El Pais on Thursday had claimed that Messi's contract terms allow him to leave the Catalan giants at the end of any season if he wishes to.
Gerard Pique confirmed the existence of the clause when he admitted that he already knew about it and insisted that he is not worried about his teammate's departure.
Messi, who has a €700m release clause in his contract, made his debut for the Catalan giants back in 2004 and has since made 687 appearances for the club, racking up a staggering 603 goals and 242 assists in the process.
The 32-year-old has already established himself as one of the greatest players in football but is far from slowing down as he recently led the Blaugrana to yet another La Liga title.
The Argentina international enjoyed a scintillating individual campaign last term, netting 51 goals in all competitions for the club.
The heart of the matter
Bartomeu has now confirmed that the reports are true but insists that the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, and Carles Puyol also had similar terms in their contracts.
Speaking to Barca TV, he said,
"Leo Messi has a contract through to the 2020/21 season, but the player is able to leave Barca before the final season.
"It's the same case as with the final contracts that Xavi, [Carles] Puyol and [Andres] Iniesta had. They are players who deserve that liberty, and we shouldn't worry, as they are very committed to Barca. We want Messi to play for Barca through to 2021 and beyond. We are very calm."
Bartomeu, who previously revealed that he wanted to keep Messi at the Camp Nou forever, is reported to be working on a new contract for the Argentine as Barcelona attempt to keep their best player for a few more years.