And now reports from Spain and Argentina claim he has communicated to the club his desire for a fresh start after a hectic season.
Fox Sports reporter Cholo Sottile tweeted Tuesday afternoon: “Confirmed: Messi has announced in Barcelona that he will be leaving. ”
And TyC Sports added: “Breaking! Messi has told Barcelona he is ready to go. He will activate a clause in his contract that will allow him to leave this summer. “
Respected journalist Guillem Balague, meanwhile, said he may have to take legal action to break his contract, tweeting: “Messi believes the season ended in August, so he can use the clause. who releases him from the club before the end of the month. FCB will mention that the contract is for the end of June for Messi to use the clause, so it has expired. ”
Messi is believed to have sent a burofax to the club confirming his intention to leave, but they argue that the clause in his contract allowing him to leave at the end of the season expired on June 10.
Messi has at times reduced a desperate figure over the past year or so, and his relationship with a number of ruling figures at Camp Nou is believed to have fallen apart.
He had a very public row with former director Eric Abidal earlier this year, as he also struggled to form a relationship on and off the pitch with signing big under Antoine Griezmann.
If Messi actually leaves all eyes will turn to his next possible destination.
Manchester City may well be at the top of the queue, with the intriguing possibility of a reunion with former manager Pep Guardiola potentially on the cards.
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Manchester United are another team that has been mentioned as a touted destination, while they might also be craving a return to Argentina and their very first club Newell’s Old Boys.
Whatever happens, the news is a blow to Barcelona, who seem on the verge of losing their talismanic figure who is arguably the greatest player in club history.