Lionel Messi and his legal team have informed Barcelona that the Argentine will skip pre-season medical tests as he continues to push for a way out of the club.
The Blaugrana are beginning to prepare for the 2020-21 campaign, with a number of players having already reported for pre-season training.
Most of the first-team squad are still away after Barca were demolished 8-2 by Bayern in the Champions League quarter-final on August 14, ending their 2019-20 season.
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Sources have confirmed to Goal, however, that when Barca players do begin arriving for standard pre-season medical tests, Messi will not be among them.
On Tuesday, Messi dropped a bombshell declaration on Barca, expressing to the Blaugrana that he wished to opt out of his contract and leave the club after 20 years.
Although his contract is set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season, Messi and his legal team have activated a clause they believe will allow him to terminate his deal unilaterally.
Messi and his team believe that his contract has expired and as such, the club legend will not report for pre-season testing.
Carrying out the examinations could be construed by Barcelona as recognition that he remains part of the club, an assertion that Leo and his lawyers reject.
The 33-year-old wants to leave the club on good terms, however, and wants to meet with the board to negotiate his exit from the Catalan side.
Messi is hoping to avoid a drawn-out saga, as Barcelona could potentially challenge his assertion that he is able to activate the clause allowing him to opt out of his contract at the end of each season.
That clause expired in June but Messi’s legal team will argue it was valid until the end of the 2019-20 season, which was extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rumours of Messi’s unhappiness have been rampant for months, with Barca enduring a difficult 2019-20 campaign that saw them sack two managers and fail to win any trophies.
Ronald Koeman has taken over as head coach at Camp Nou to replace Quique Setien, who was sacked after the Bayern defeat along with sporting director Eric Abidal.
Messi cut his vacation short to meet with Koeman last week, telling the Dutchman in their meeting that he no longer believed in the club’s project.
The likes of Manchester City, Juventus, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter have all been linked with the Barca sensation, with L’Equipe having reported that he has chosen to join Pep Guardiola’s side.
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