The Spanish La Liga on Sunday released a statement saying captain, Lionel Messi’s Barcelona contract was still valid amid interest linking the 33-year-old to Manchester City.
The announcement comes days after the Argentine’s shock announcement that he wants to leave the Blaugrana and hours after he failed to attend a pre-season medical on Sunday.
Spain’s football ruling body said the only way for the Argentine forward to be released from the contract was to trigger a 700-million euros (833 million dollars) release clause.
“In compliance with the applicable rule, La Liga will not approve a request to be de-registered as a player with the Spanish football federation, unless the amount in the release clause has been paid,” La Liga said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Messi didn’t attend a medical with Barcelona on Sunday, a Barca club source confirmed.
Reuters footage showed Barcelona players arriving for coronavirus tests on Sunday morning and Messi did not appear.
The six-times Ballon d’ Or winner had been due at Barcelona’s training ground at 10.15 am local time.
Messi informed the Catalan club last Tuesday he wished to leave immediately.
The request plunged Barca into new turmoil less than two weeks after their humiliating 8-2 UEFA 2019/20 Champions League last-8 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Messi’s lawyers plan to invoke a clause in his four-year contract, signed in 2017.
It would have allowed Messi to leave Barcelona for free if he had requested it by June 10.