Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to "unilaterally" terminate his contract with the Spanish giants, a club source confirms to AFP. Photo: AFPTV / AFPTV teams

The Lionel Messi debacle has come to a head as the Argentine reportedly informed FC Barcelona that he wishes to be released from his contract. The news sparked outrage and massive protests at the Camp Nou, where hundreds of fans turned up to call for the removal of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Despite current restrictions on mass gatherings due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, FC Barcelona fans decided to gather en masse at the Camp Nou following the Messi bombshell. After weeks of speculations and various rumours, the media has now gotten wind of a report stating that Messi's lawyers have informed the club that he wishes to be released from his contract on a free transfer this summer.

The Sun reports that a board meeting will be held as soon as possible and the fate of Bartomeu will be decided. Other board members such as economics and assets vice president Jordi Moix and treasurer David Bellver have reportedly decided to step down, although this is still unconfirmed. The hashtag #BartomeuOut is currently trending on social media.

The whole conflict between Messi and the club started when Neymar Jr. was sold to PSG. Messi felt that this was the wrong move and he was unhappy with the club's failed attempt to bring the Brazilian back last year.

In January, Messi had a public spat with sporting director Eric Abidal following the sacking of manager Ernesto Valverde. Barcelona's humiliating 2-8 defeat against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League earlier this month sparked fresh speculations about Messi's fate.

The straw that reportedly broke the camel's back is how new manager Ronald Koeman has decided to exclude Luis Suarez from his future plans. Despite stating that he fully wants Messi to be in his team, the Dutch manager may have to build a team without the Argentine star.

With Messi carrying a £630 million buyout fee, the transfer plans will likely lead into a massive legal battle. The club believes that the free transfer window expired back in June, but with the delay caused by the coronavirus crisis, Messi and his camp believe that the free transfer window should still be valid given that the season has just ended.


Barcelona’s president in the club’s greatest European humiliations.

Ruined the club financially.

Lost Neymar and wasted all that money on flops.

Forced Messi out of the club. #BartomeuOut

— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) August 25, 2020