The Spanish League issued a statement on Sunday saying that Lionel Messi’s contract with FC Barcelona was still valid.
The announcement came days after the Argentine’s shocking announcement that he wants to leave the club and hours after he failed to see a preseason doctor on Sunday.
The governing body said the only way for the Argentine forward to be released from the contract was to activate a release clause of 700 million euros ($ 833 million).
“In accordance with the applicable rule, La Liga will not approve a request to be terminated as a player in the Spanish soccer federation, unless the amount of the termination clause has been paid,” La Liga said in a release.
Messi did not attend a doctor with FC Barcelona on Sunday, confirmed a source from the Barça club.
Reuters footage showed players arriving for coronavirus tests on Sunday morning and Messi did not appear.
He was supposed to be at the Barcelona training ground at 10.15 am local time.
The 33-year-old six-time world player of the year informed his longtime club on Tuesday that he wanted to leave immediately.
The request plunged Barça into new turmoil less than two weeks after their humiliating 8-2 UEFA Champions League quarter-final loss to Bayern Munich.
Messi’s lawyers plan to invoke a clause in his four-year contract, signed in 2017.
He would have allowed the forward to leave the club for free if he had requested it before June 10.
They will argue that that date, nominally the end of the season, is now irrelevant after the coronavirus delays that led to the extension of the season and the team playing through August.
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