The clause allowing Lionel Messi to walk away from Barcelona for free this summer expired over the weekend, sources at the club confirmed to ESPN, meaning he will remain at Camp Nou for at least another 12 months.

Messi, 32, signed terms, which run until the end of the 2020-21 campaign, in 2017. At the time, a clause was included that he could leave for nothing in the summer of 2020 as long as he communicated his decision to Barca before June.

Multiple sources at Barca have told ESPN that the actual deadline was May 30, coinciding with the date when this season’s Champions League final was supposed to take place in Istanbul. ESPN contacted Messi’s camp for confirmation, too, but they said, as a rule, “we don’t speak about contractual issues.”

El Pais first revealed the details of Messi’s contract situation last September and they were later confirmed by teammate Gerard Pique, who said Messi has “earned the right to be able to choose what he does with his future after everything he’s given the club.”

Several teams, including Manchester City, have been monitoring Messi’s situation since, but sources inside the Barca hierarchy have always maintained their belief that the club’s record goalscorer would stay put.  Continue reading

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