Lionel Messi 'could go for free in 2020' as Barcelona try desperately to tie legend to a new deal
Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona for nothing in as little as 18 months' time - with the Catalan club renewing their efforts to tie him to a new deal.
The 31-year-old legend is tied to the Nou Camp club until 2021, but a shock new detail of his contract has emerged.
According to Mundo, the striker has a 'special exit clause' in his deal which could see him leave for nothing in 2020.
However, he could only join a 'non elite club'.
This means he could walk away in the manner of Xavi and Andres Iniesta who joined clubs in Qatar and Japan respectively.
However, the Barcelona board are looking are looking to tie him to a new long-term deal. This could see him remain at the Nou Camp until 2022 or even 2023 by which time he will be 36 years old.
They want the Argentinian to be a one-club man and hang up his boots at Barcelona.
He currently has a €700m release clause in his current deal which would ward off any would-be suitors such as Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi has already indicated that he wants to play on at Barcelona until he feels he can no longer cut it at the highest level.
The 'special release clause' is there to give Barcelona legends one last payday at a foreign club if they've had exemplary careers at the Nou Camp - such as Xavi or Iniesta.
Last month David Beckham targeted a sensational move for Messi for his MLS franchise.
Beckham is seeing light at the end of the tunnel for his Miami-based team, which will play in the United States' senior league from 2020.
He announced earlier this month that the team is going to be called Inter Miami, in a move that will target an international audience.
But in a more controversial move, the Mail on Sunday report that he will try and land Messi from Barcelona in a bid to instantly make them one of the most marketable football teams on the planet.
Messi could be tempted by a huge offer, as he will be 33 at the time his current deal runs out.
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