Lionel Messi has dropped a huge bombshell by telling Barcelona he wants to leave.
Messi, 33, sent a legal document by fax on Tuesday telling the club’s hierarchy of his intentions after two decades at the Nou Camp.
The incredible development is certain to put Europe’s top clubs on red alert with Manchester City and Manchester United both having the finance to make a move for the Argentina superstar who is on £500,000-a-week.
Paris Saint Germain, Juventus and Inter Milan could also be interested in Messi who only has one year left on his current deal.
It comes just 11 days after Barcelona ’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League to leave the Spanish giants in turmoil.
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Messi insists he has a get out clause which was written into his last contract which will allow him to leave for free this summer.
Barcelona may yet contest that this decision was, according to the contract, due in June but the coronavirus pandemic has caused a delay.
Spanish radio have reported that Messi will refuse to return to training next week and it could end in a very bitter exit.
Messi is understood to have been left furious when details of crisis talks between him and new Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman became public.
But Koeman, who was appointed after the Bayern humiliation, has not been able to convince Messi to stay after Barcelona finished without a trophy for the first time in 12 years.
Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards during his time at Barcelona as the top player in the world, and has helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions League crowns.