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Lionel Messi transfer blow as Barcelona say his contract at the club is still valid and any interested clubs must pay his €700m release clause

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LaLiga released a statement on Sunday confirming that Lionel Messi’s €700million release clause at Barcelona is still active and any interested clubs must pay the massive fee.

The Barcelona captain shocked the football world last week when he informed the club via fix last week that he wanted to leave the Spanish giants this summer on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old has a clause in his contract which states he can leave on a free transfer at the end of each season should he want to. But Barcelona have claimed that the clause expired on June 10, while Messi and his representatives are arguing that it should have been extended to the end of August due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Spanish Football League is now standing with Barcelona in the contract row and they have now confirmed that the release clause is still active.

A La Liga statement read on Sunday: ‘The contract is currently in force and has a “termination clause” applicable to the event that Lionel Andrés Messi decides to urge the early unilateral termination of the contract, carried out in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985, of June 26, by which regulates the special employment relationship of professional athletes.

‘In compliance with the applicable regulations, and following the corresponding procedure in these cases, LaLiga will not carry out the prior visa process for the player to be removed from the federation if they have not previously paid the amount (€700million) of said clause.’

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This means that any interested clubs must pay his €700m release clause to sign the Argentinian star this summer.

Manchester City are favorites to sign the Barcelona captain following reports that his father Jorge Messi has already met with the Premier League club to discuss the transfer terms.

The statement comes shortly after Messi failed to arrive for his scheduled Covid-19 test at Barcelona on Sunday morning, casting more doubt on his future at the club.