Barcelona still hopes Argentine star Lionel Messi will be included in its roster when it restarts training next month.
Messi informed the club of his desire to leave yesterday, but the Spanish team has not given up hope just yet.
Technical director Ramon Planes said the aim is to restore the team’s greatness with Messi as its centerpiece. “We want to rebuild for the future together with the best player in history. We are not contemplating any departure on a contractual level because we want him to stay.
Planes added, “We have to show a huge respect for Messi because he is the best player in the world”, he said adding “We can’t make this a dispute between Leo Messi and Barcelona because neither deserves it.”
Messi has spoken out against the team’s leadership but has been silent since the club’s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League, one of the club’s worst defeats ever.
After almost two decades with the team where he started his career, Messi yesterday invoked a clause that allows him to leave for free at the end of the season.
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However, Barcelona contends that the clause expired on June 10, implying that he would have missed the deadline and be liable to pay US$827 million if he leaves before the contract ends in June 2021.
But, some say Messi could argue that the clause expires at the end of the season, which was pushed back due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.