Lionel Messi will not leave Barcelona this summer unless his €700 million release clause is met, La Liga have said in a statement.
Messi failed to report for mandatory coronavirus testing at Barca on Sunday morning, further fuelling speculation that he was set for a sensational exit.
But La Liga, clearly concerned about losing their biggest star, have waded into the row and said his release clause remains active.
Messi, who believes he is entitled to leave Barca for free, has been heavily linked with a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
“The contract is currently in force and has a ‘termination clause’ applicable to the event that Lionel Andres Messi decides to terminate his contract early,” read the statement.
Messi’s lawyers plan to invoke a clause in his four-year contract, signed in 2017, which would have allowed the forward to leave the club for free if he had requested it by June 10.
They will argue that the June date – nominally the end of the season – is now irrelevant after the coronavirus delays that led to the season’s extension and the team playing deep into August.
La Liga’s announcement contradicts reports in the Spanish press, reported below in Eurosport’s Euro Papers, that claimed Messi’s release clause is no longer valid.