According to Cadena SER, Messi's lawyers have reportedly informed Barcelona that the release clause expired this summer, and that the Argentine is now free to walk away if he so wishes.
Barcelona, though, are adamant that the release clause still holds good, and that Messi remains a contracted player for now.
Messi signed this contract in 2017 as a three-year deal with an option to extend for a further year.
Last year, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu had said that Messi was free to exercise the right to leave Barcelona before the start of the 2020-21 season, which is what the Argentine has asked Barcelona to fulfil right now.
Cadena SER have said that the club are not willing to concede any position in this regard, and are adamant that Messi's release clause still stands, and that the deadline for him to exercise his right to terminate his contract at Barcelona has now expired.
Lionel Messi fails to appear for Barcelona COVID-19 tests
On a day when the whole Bacelona first-team arrived at their training complex to give tests for COVID-19, Messi was absent. That now means he will also miss the first day of pre-season training, with La Liga rules preventing any player from training without having given a negative COVID-19 test.
Barcelona, however, will legally respond to Messi, reminding him of his obligation as a Barcelona player, and order him to show up for the COVID-19 test, according to SPORT.
Reports from Spain claim that Messi still wants to end his association with Barcelona on good terms, and wants to ensure there is no bad blood between him and the club. However, Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has claimed that Bartomeu has decided he will not meet with Messi to discuss anything apart from a renewal of his contract.
It is also reported that right now, it is difficult for Barcelona to change Messi's mind on his desire to depart from the club. Balague said that some of Barcelona's actions since Messi sent the notice last week asking to depart from the club have convinced the Argentine that he has made the right decision by asking to leave the club.Published 30 Aug 2020, 17:02 IST