Lionel Messi 'going to war' with Barcelona by refusing to take coronavirus test or return to training - reports

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The Argentine superstar is due back at the club on Sunday after handing in transfer request

Messi's best goals ... 10. Lionel Messi scores the second goal during the Champions League Final against Manchester United at the Stadio Olimpico in 2009. Getty

9. Messi scores winning goal against Estudiantes in extra time of the Club World Cup Final at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi in 2009. Stephen Lock / The National

8. Messi fires an incredible free kick to score during La Liga match against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou in 2016. AFP

7. Messi's flick and finish against Arsenal during the Champions League round of 16 second leg match at Camp Nou stadium in 2011 was breathtaking. Getty

6. A nutmeg and a delightful chipped finish against Sevilla in 2012 made this the sixth favourite goal of Messi's 630 for Barcelona. AFP

5. Messi made defenders fall over before chipping Bayern's Manuel Neuer during the first leg of the Champions League semifinal match in 2015. Getty

4. An incredible mazy run and finish against Zaragoza in 2010. AFP

3. Taking on and beating the entire Real Madrid defence in the Champions League semi-final at the Bernabeu in 2011 will underline your popularity with Barca fans. Though possibly not with Real supporters. Getty

2. Messi on his way to another spellbinding finish and the opening goal of the Copa del Rey Final against Bilbao in 2015. Getty

1, Voted the fans' favourite, Messi basically took on the whole Getafe team in the Copa del Rey in 2007, and won. Incredibly, he started the run by beating two players while still in his own half. Getty


Dominic Hart

Aug 30, 2020

August 30, 2020


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Lionel Messi will not take a planned pre-season coronavirus test on Sunday or return to training on Monday after his shock announcement that he wants to leave Barcelona, Spanish media has reported.

Sports paper Marca said Messi was "going to war" with his lifelong club by making the decision.

La Vanguardia reported Messi will send another burofax, the method by which he told the club he wanted to leave, to inform them of his decision not to join his teammates for the first training session under new coach Ronald Koeman.

La Vanguardia reported the letter will be signed by Jorge Messi, the player's father and agent, and Messi has already told Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu of his decision.

Messi informed the club on Tuesday he wished to leave immediately, plunging Barca into fresh turmoil less than two weeks after its humiliating 8-2 Champion's League defeat by Bayern Munich.

According to Spanish media, lawyers representing Messi have said he does not need to attend training as he has already expressed his desire to leave the club and therefore his contract has ended.

They are invoking a clause in the four-year contract, signed in 2017, which would have allowed Messi to leave the club for free if he had requested it by June 10.

They will argue that date - nominally the end of the season - is now irrelevant after the coronavirus delays that led to the season’s extension and the team playing deep into August.

Under the terms of the contract which expires in 2021, the only way Messi can leave without the club’s consent is if a rival side pays his release clause of €700 million (Dh3060m).

Speculation has been rife over possible destinations for Messi, with favourites so far including Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan.

Updated: August 30, 2020 07:39 AM

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