Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club after nearly two decades, as reported by AP.
The report states that the Argentinian announced his desire to leave by sending a document to the Nou Camp.
Having won six Ballon d’Or awards during his time at Barcelona, and helping the club to win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions League crowns, the reported news is a seismic shock.
Marca has also reported that the Argentinian does not want to continue to play for the club under new boss Ronald Koeman.
It's understood that Messi wants to activate the clause in his contract which allows him to leave Barcelona immediately.
According to reports, Messi has requested that Barcelona refer to the clause in his contract that allows him to leave for free at the end of each season.
The Barca captain's contract clause did expire in May, but his representatives believe that it should have extended to August due to the disruption caused to the season by the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona legend Carles Puyol has since reacted to the news by taking to Twitter and posting: "Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend.
Luis Suarez has also weighed in on the potential move. The Uruguayan striker has applauded Puyol's statement.
Respeto y admiración, Leo. Todo mi apoyo, amigo.
— Carles Puyol (@Carles5puyol) August 25, 2020
— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) August 25, 2020
As discussed below, the contractual issue is quite complicated due to Messi's release clause, with Barcelona arguing that the €700m release fee still stands.
Messi will argue that the season finished late, so he's free to walk for under the contract, while Barcelona will refer to the original date of the season finishing.
Barcelona's humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League capped a miserable season for the club, their first without a major trophy since 2007-08.
🗣 "He has a release clause of 700M, there is a clause within that contract that says he can leave for free at the end of every season." @skysports_sheth explains Lionel Messi's contract complications pic.twitter.com/Lrq5OGu3eK
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 25, 2020
Breaking: Barcelona confirms that Lionel Messi has told the club he wants to leave
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) August 25, 2020