Lionel Messi reportedly contains a clause in his Barcelona contract that allows him to leave the club at the end of each campaign.
Widely considered one of the greatest to have ever play football, Messi would have a whole host of suitors if he called time on his Barcelona career.
Reports had linked the five-time Ballon d’Or winner with moves to big-spenders Manchester City and Inter Milan down the years. However, the idea of him ever leaving Barcelona is something most consider unimaginable.
Messi has enjoyed a glorious 18-year Camp Nou career, and has literally won every major club honour. He’s also smashed home a staggering 603 goals in just 687 appearances.
Undoubtedly, the Argentine will go down as Barcelona’s greatest player in history once he eventually hangs up his boots.
But it turns out that there’s a chance that may not be at Catalonia based on a report from El Pais. Apparently, Messi has a clause in his current contract which allows him to walk out at the end of each season.
The Spanish newspaper claims it’s part of Messi’s contract extension from November 2017. It also included a €700m buy-out clause, and saw him extend his stay until 2021.
The bad news for Barcelona’s rivals, however, is the fact that the option can only be exercised for clubs outside of Europe. So, the chances of seeing Messi play for another European club are remote.
It seems likely, therefore, that Barcelona included this clause to allow their star man to return to his native Argentina.
The 32-year-old has never hidden a desire to play for boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys one day.
“Every time I’m more clear that in Europe, Barcelona will be my only place. In Argentina, I would like to play six months or some games in Newell’s,” said Messi in 2018.
“When I was little I had a dream to play in the Colossus. I was left with the thorn of playing on Newell’s court.”