Messi could leave Barcelona without a transfer fee if Catalonia secedes from Spain and the club does not compete in any of Europe’s top four leagues, Spanish newspaper El Mundo has reported.
The Argentina international is one of the best players in the history of the game signed the contract in November, seven months before his old deal expired. It runs until June 2021 and contains a €700m ($843m) buyout clause, but could be sensationally granted a move away from the Nou Camp on a free if Catalan independence means the club are removed from La Liga.
That was according to a report in El Mundo, which insisted that he would only remain at the club if they were part of the Spanish, French, German or English league system. Sources close to the club have refused to confirm or deny whether there is any truth to this, said: “In the interests of confidentiality the club never comments on contracts signed with players and never will.”
The president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, has repeatedly said Barcelona would be booted out of the Spanish league along with all other Catalan clubs in the event of secession, as only teams from Spain and Andorra are entitled to compete in the Spanish leagues.