Lionel Messi skipped his pre-season medical check-up at Barcelona Sunday. (USA TODAY Photo)
In what has a potential to become an ongoing soap opera, the second chapter of Lionel Messi desire to leave Barcelona took center stage in Spain Sunday.
La Liga said that Messi’s contract with Barcelona was still valid, day after the superstar’s announcement that he wants to leave the team.
The Spanish first division said the only way a team can sign the Argentine forward is if he triggers a release clause of $833 million.
On Sunday, the 33-year-old Messi did not attend a pre-season medical check-up with the club.
“In compliance with the applicable rule, La Liga will not approve a request to be de-registered as a player with the Spanish football federation, unless the amount in the release clause has been paid,” La Liga said in a statement.
Messi’s decision not to attend his medical was a reminder of his determination to leave Barca.
A six-time world player of the year, Messi has claimed that he has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave on a free transfer. That has been disputed his club and La Liga.
Manchester City, the parent club of New York City FC, is the favorite to sign Messi. He would rejoin his former Barca coach Pep Guardiola.