Lionel Messi transfer: Barcelona fans gather outside Camp Nou in protest

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Fans voiced their displeasure at club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and their support for Messi

A Barcelona fan holds up a Lionel Messi shirt outside the Camp Nou after captain Lionel Messi told Barcelona he wishes to leave the club immediately, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Reuters

Dozens of FC Barcelona fans gather outside Camp Nou Stadium to demand the resignation of the club's president, Josep Maria Bartomeu. EPA

Dozens of FC Barcelona fans gather outside Camp Nou Stadium. EPA

Barcelona fans react outside the Camp Nou after captain Lionel Messi told Barcelona he wishes to leave the club. Reuters

Barcelona fans gathered outside the Camp Nou. Reuters

Barcelona fans mingle outside the Camp Nou. Reuters

Barcelona fans are seen outside the Camp Nou. Reuters

A Barcelona fan holds up a Lionel Messi shirt outside the Camp Nou. Reuters

A Barcelona fan holds up a Lionel Messi shirt outside the Camp Nou. Reuters

Dozens of FC Barcelona fans gathered outside Camp Nou Stadium. EPA

Dozens of FC Barcelona fans gather outside Camp Nou Stadium. EPA

Barcelona fans are seen outside the Camp Nou. Reuters

Barcelona fans are seen outside the Camp Nou. Reuters

Barcelona fans are seen outside the Camp Nou. Reuters

Lionel Messi endured a disappointing season at Barcelona. EPA

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Ian Oxborrow

Aug 26, 2020

August 26, 2020

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Barcelona fans gathered outside the club's Camp Nou stadium after the bombshell news that star player Lionel Messi has requested a transfer.

The club's fans, undeterred by the coronavirus pandemic, wore masks and voiced their anger with chants aimed at club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

It was reported on Tuesday evening that Messi's lawyers had sent a fax stating the Argentine's desire to end his contract by triggering a release clause.

"I don't see him anywhere else. I can't believe it," said Ruben Tejero, 28, one of about 100 fans at the stadium calling for Bartomeu to resign.

"I prefer to think it's an ultimatum given to management for Bartomeu to go," AFP reported him as saying.

Barcelona have yet to respond publicly but are understood to believe Messi's release clause expired in June, and that he remains under contract until the end of the 2021 season.

Messi endured a frustrating season as Barcelona were pipped to the La Liga title by rivals Real Madrid, and they suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final - the heaviest loss of Messi's career.

The 33-year-old made his Barcelona debut aged just 16 in 2003.

Former teammate and Barcelona legend Carles Puyol gave his approval to Messi's decision on Twitter, saying: "Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend."

The tweet was responded to by Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who just a day earlier was reported to have been told by new manager Ronald Koeman that his time at the Camp Nou was up.

Updated: August 26, 2020 10:49 AM

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