What’s next for Messi?

Captain Lionel Messi sent shockwaves in his club Barcelona after he expressed his desire to leave the club immediately, a source confirmed on Tuesday, less than two weeks after their humiliating exit from the Champions League.

According to Reuters, a source said the club received a burofax from Messi’s lawyers declaring that the player, who has spent his entire career at Barca, wished to leave. A burofax is a service used in Spain to urgently dispatch a document through a certified email, which issues a digital certificate with legal validity.

The club subsequently sent Messi a burofax, stating they wanted him to stay and finish his career at Barca, added the source.

A second source added that the burofax Messi’s lawyers sent referred to a clause in the last contract the 33-year-old Argentine signed with the club in 2017 which allowed him to leave for free, a clause that expired on June 10 this year.

The 33-year-old Argentine is into the final year of his contract at the club and doubts about his future have grown since last week’s historic 8-2 thrashing to Bayern Munich to exit the Champions League, which the Catalan side have failed to win since 2015.

With his contract running out next June, the six-times world player of the year is free to negotiate with other clubs from next January.

Yet even without a transfer fee, Messi’s colossal salary, reported to be the highest in world football, means very few clubs would be able to afford him.

A study by the French newspaper L’Equipe earlier this year said Messi earns 8.2 million euros per month from Barca, way more than Ronaldo and Paris St Germain striker Neymar, who earn 4.5 million euros and 3 million euros respectively.

However, nothing is beyond the reach of Manchester City who could use Pep Guardiola to tempt Messi to the Etihad stadium. Paris St Germain could also be another club who could throw hat into the ring.

‘He’s very welcome. What coach says no to Messi?’ Paris St Germain Manager Thomas Tuchel told BT Sport after his side lost 1-0 to Bayern in the Champions League final on Sunday.

Like his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who switched from Real Madrid to Juventus two years ago, Lionel Messi could also seek a fresh challenge in the last leg of his career.

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