Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to leave the club — after spending nearly 20 years with the Spanish giants.
The 33-year-old Argentina forward communicated his intention to the club on Tuesday via fax.
Messi said he wishes to exercise a clause in his contract which allows him to leave for free with immediate effect.
The development comes about 11 days after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League (UEFA) quarter-finals — one of the heaviest defeats in the club’s history.
Although Messi’s contract will expire at the end of the 2020-21 season, the player and his legal team hope the clause will allow him to terminate his deal unilaterally.
The talented football star, who made his debut for Barcelona in 2004, has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards during his time at Camp Nou, where he helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions Leagues.
Following the defeat to Bayern, Barcelona had wielded the big stick on Quique Setien, its head coach, as well as Eric Abidal, its technical manager.
The Spanish giant, thereafter, announced the appointment of Ronald Koeman, a Dutch professional football manager, as its new head coach.