Barcelona legend Lionel Messi has submitted a transfer request and asked to leave the club.
Sources have confirmed to Goal that the 33-year-old has sent a fax to Barcelona asking the club to allow him to activate a clause in his contract which will allow him to leave on a free transfer this summer, with his current deal currently set to expire at the end of next season.
Rumours of Messi’s unhappiness have been swirling since Bayern Munich humiliated Barcelona 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-final on August 14, ending a season that saw the club fail to win any trophies.
Following that match, Barcelona sacked head coach Quique Setien as well as technical manager Eric Abidal. They subsequently hired Ronald Koeman to replace Setien, with the Dutchman expressing his desire to keep the Argentine star at Camp Nou.
After sitting down with Messi, however, it appears Koeman was unable to convince his side’s talisman to become a part of his project.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has previously insisted that Messi will end his career at Camp Nou as his own future continues to be questioned.
Bartomeu has moved forward Barca’s presidential elections to March as he looks to keep hold of a position that would be even more precarious if he is to oversee Messi’s departure.
With his desire to leave confirmed, attention will turn to Messi’s potential next destination, with very few clubs likely able to afford the Argentine’s wages.
Messi has established himself as one of football’s all-time greatest players after initially making the breakthrough with Barcelona in 2004.
The 33-year-old has won La Liga on 10 occasions and lifted the Champions League four times — though Barca have been shut out from European club football’s biggest prize since the 2014-15 season.
On an individual level, Messi has won the Ballon d’Or a record six times, including a run of four straight between 2009 and 2012 as well as the most recent award in 2019.