Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has confirmed that he will be staying put with Barcelona for the final year of his contract after being denied the opportunity to secure a free transfer elsewhere.
Earlier last month, the 33-year-old sent shock waves across the footballing world after he handed in a request to leave the Blaugrana by triggering a clause which would allow him to terminate his deal.
However, the Blaugrana hierarchy clearly mentioned that the option had expired within 10 days of the Champions League final date (May 30) and he would be only allowed to leave the club, if the staggering €700m buy-out clause is triggered.
In an exclusive interview with Goal.com, Messi has now revealed that he has been denied the chance to leave on a free transfer despite the fact that he had an agreement with club president Josep Bartomeu.
He added that he has no choice, but to stay put with the Catalan giants next term, considering it is impossible for any club to activate the hefty release clause attached to his contract.
“I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,” He told in an interview with Goal.com’s Rubén Uría.
“Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.
“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million (£624m/$823m) clause, and that this is impossible.“
Messi had the option of going for a trial in court, but the six-time Ballon d’Or has stated that was never likely to happen, given his love for the Blaugrana, who have given him everything over the past two decades.
Messi has less than 10 months remaining on his deal at the Camp Nou and as things stand, he would be free to negotiate a pre-contract with an overseas club at the turn of the year.
Premier League side Manchester City were regarded as favourites to sign him during the ongoing transfer window and Eurosport claims that the Cityzens are confident of getting a deal over the line next summer.
The Cityzens, who are managed by former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, are planning to offer him a three-year contract with the chance to play for their sister club New York City FC in Major League Soccer for two seasons after leaving them.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com