Messi Tells He’s Staying at Barcelona for Another Year

Lionel Messi will be playing for FC Barcelona this year after all.

The Argentine striker, one of the greatest soccer players of all-time, told he’ll stay at the club for the coming season because he didn’t want to get drawn into a legal battle about his proposed departure.

“I thought and was sure that I was free to leave,” Messi was reported as saying on Friday. “I am going to continue with the club because the president told me the only way to leave was to pay the 700 million-euro ($825 million) release clause, and that this is impossible.”

Barcelona fought back against an interpretation of his contract that would have allowed him to move to a rival team for free. It maintained that Messi needed to state his desire to leave by June 10 -- normally that would have been after the end of the Spanish season but the coronavirus forced the extension of La Liga’s schedule beyond then.

Since stating he wanted to move, rumors circulated that Messi would reunite with his former manager Pep Guardiola in the English Premier League for Manchester City. That reunion will have to wait at least one more year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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