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Lionel Messi tells Barcelona he wants to leave the club

The six times Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi has communicated to Barcelona via fax that he wants to leave the club on a free transfer this summer.

The Argentine journalist close to the player, Veronica Brunati, broke the story on Tuesday and it was subsequently confirmed by sources close to the Catalan club.

Messi’s bold move was immediately praised by Carles Puyol who tweeted: ‘Respect and admiration Leo. All my support, amigo.’

Puyol’s tweet was then applauded in a reply from Luis Suarez.

Messi’s discontent is nothing new but the possibility of a free transfer is.

 Messi believes a clause in his contract allowing him to walk away for nothing is still valid because the season ended in August and not May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Barcelona say the deadline for Messi to leave for free passed in June and will contest the player’s argument that the deadline changed when the season was rearranged after lockdown.

Messi is supposed to report for the new season on Sunday for a scheduled coronavirus test but has no intention of meeting up with new coach Ronald Koeman or attending Monday’s subsequent first training session.

Interestingly,  there is a growing belief around the club that at least part of the club’s board want Messi to leave.

The former Barcelona president Joan Laporta accused Bartomeu of wanting to sell Messi in a tweet published on Tuesday.

‘I suspect they want to sell Messi,’ he said. ‘Poor Barça in the hands of these incompetents.’

Messi earns Є50m (£44m) net a season and that costs the club close to Є100m (£88m) gross a year with tax payments.