?Lionel Messi is allowed to choose when he leaves Barcelona thanks to a clause in his contract at the Camp Nou, meaning he could walk away before it expires in 2021.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner first joined Barcelona 19 years ago and has gone on to make 687 appearances across all competitions and is comfortably their all-time record goalscorer ahead of César Rodríguez.
Messi put pen to paper on a new four-year contract in 2017 which more than doubled his release clause to €700m, but El País claims that there’s another clause which gives the Argentine complete freedom over his future.
According to their report, Messi is free to walk away from Barcelona on his own terms at the end of any given season.
That means that while Messi has a contract with the club until 2021, he could leave Catalonia for nothing next summer, although there’s no evidence to suggest that he’ll be considering that over the course of this season.
Additionally, previous reports have also claimed that Messi has clause in his contract which will be activated in 2020 which stipulates he may leave the club for nothing ?should he choose to join a ‘non-elite club’ – meaning he could follow in the footsteps of former teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who departed for Qatar and Japan respectively.
Making his debut for Barcelona in 2004, Messi has scored 603 goals throughout his career, as well as claiming 242 assists.
He hasn’t been able to add to his tally so far this season due to injury, but Messi could still be in with a chance of overtaking club legend Xavi as the player with the most number of appearances for the Blaugrana – he’s 82 behind the Spaniard.
During Messi’s absence, new signing Antoine Griezmann has taken his time to make an impact with Barcelona, scoring two goals in three games as the club sits in eighth place in the league table.