There are strong indications that Lionel Messi’s exit from the Nou camp has reached a point of no return.
The 6-time Ballon d’Or winner determined to drive home his point has refused to take a coronavirus test at Barcelona’s training ground which would make him available for pre-season training from next week.
The 33-year-old iconic forward shocked the world of football last week by putting in a transfer request at the LaLiga giants after a 16-year career which has see him score over 600 goals and win 33 trophies.
Barcelona’s stars reported for pre-season coronavirus tests at the training ground on Sunday but Messi who has been tipped to land at the Etihad was nowhere to be found
Luis Suarez, on the other hand, did turn up for the coronavirus tests despite reportedly being told by Ronald Koeman he is no longer required at Barcelona.
Other first-team stars, including Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jordi Alba, were spotted turning up for the pre-season test. Arturo Vidal also showed up despite rumours he is set to leave the Camp Nou on a free transfer.
Koeman was also seen arriving at the Barcelona training centre as he prepares to enter his first season in charge of the side he won the European Cup with in 1992.
LaLiga issued a statement adding another layer of intrigue to what is fast becoming one of the most complex transfer stories of the last decade.
A statement read on Sunday: ‘The contract is currently in force and has a “termination clause” applicable to the event that Lionel Andrés Messi decides to urge the early unilateral termination of the contract, carried out in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985, of June 26, by which regulates the special employment relationship of professional athletes.
‘In compliance with the applicable regulations, and following the corresponding procedure in these cases, LaLiga will not carry out the prior visa process for the player to be removed from the federation if they have not previously paid the amount (£630million) of said clause.’