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Lionel Messi’s Barcelona release clause has now expired

Last updated 1 month ago | By Mirror

La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona v Levante - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - February 2, 2020 Barcelona's Lionel Messi [REUTERS/Albert Gea]

Lionel Messi will not be departing Barcelona this summer after the Argentine chose not to activate a release clause in his contract.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner signed a new four-year deal back in 2017 that included a strange exit clause.

SEE ALSO: Messi will finish career at Barcelona says club president

Provided Messi told Barcelona before June 1 he was allowed to leave for free at the end of any given season.

Speculation had been mounting that the 32-year-old may actually leave the Nou Camp following over 15 years at the club.

SEE ALSO: Cr7: I needed a free-kick goal to boost my confidence

Inter Milan, who tried to sign Messi earlier in his career, claimed it was feasible that they could make a move for the global star.

But Messi has denied he has any intentions of leaving Barcelona despite publicly clashing with the club at times this season.

SEE ALSO: Lionel Messi unwilling to renew Barcelona contract

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu said last November that he wanted to do everything to ensure the forward could continue his trophy-laden career in Catalunya.

"Surely it will be the wish of all parties, if he feels strong and ambitious, to extend this contract indefinitely," Bartomeu told the press.

"Ultimately it is he who must decide. He has earned the right to decide when he will stop playing football. But he wants to finish his playing career at Barcelona.

"Over the next two or three seasons our leader will continue to be Leo Messi. There's no doubt that he is still young, still strong. He is still ambitious.

"So Leo Messi will still play with us for the next two, three, four or five years. I have no doubts about that."

Messi has again been a leader for Barcelona this season scoring 24 times as they target a third straight league title.