Messi senior seemingly replied ‘yes’ when asked by a reporter if they had considered the possibility of staying at the club for another season and then leaving for free next year.
Madrid: Jorge Messi, father and agent of Lionel Messi, appeared to concede his son could remain at Barcelona this season, according to footage broadcast by Spanish media on Thursday.
Messi senior seemingly replied “yes” when asked by a reporter if they had considered the possibility of staying at the club for another season and then leaving for free next year, in a video recorded by Spanish TV station Cuatro.
The images were captured as Jorge Messi pulled into a parking garage reportedly for another day of meetings with the family’s lawyers.
He had arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday, landing at the private terminal in El Prat airport on a flight from the Argentine city of Rosario.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported that Jorge had sent a letter to the Spanish league on Friday saying his son is free to leave Barcelona immediately without having to pay the 700 million euro ($837 million) buyout clause.
Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi boycotted Barcelona’s first pre-season training session on Monday, as he tries to force his way out of the club he joined as a 13-year-old.
Messi also failed to attend a coronavirus test at Barcelona’s training ground on Sunday.
Messi’s father was followed throughout the city by reporters and TV crews on Wednesday, and told reporters it would be “difficult” for his son to stay at Barcelona.
According to local reports, club directors met with Messi and his advisors for more than two hours on Wednesday, but neither party was willing to alter their stance. Further negotiations are expected to be held in due course between Barcelona and Messi’s entourage, which also includes his brother Rodrigo.
Barcelona insist their captain remains under contract until June 2021 and will only depart if his 700-million-euro ($833 million) release clause is activated, a stance that has been backed up by La Liga, who say that release clause still applies.
But Messi and his lawyers argue he is allowed to go for free this summer according to another clause in his contract, which they claim was triggered on 25 August when a burofax stating Messi’s intention to leave arrived at Camp Nou.
Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City have expressed an interest in signing him.
Letter to LaLiga
The letter sent by Messi’s father to the Spanish league comes a few days after the league said Messi was still under contract until June 2021 and could not leave without paying the penalty.
In the letter, which was seen by The Associated Press, Jorge Messi disputed that and said the contract allows his son to leave for free at the end of the season, which this year was pushed back by the coronavirus pandemic.
The letter by Jorge was sent two days after there was no agreement in a meeting between him and Barcelona club president Josep Bartomeu.
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