Barcelona, August 26: Lionel Messi shocked the whole footballing world on Tuesday night (August 25) when he informed Barcelona that he wanted to leave the club, opting out of his contract.
The La Liga giants since then confirmed that they had received the letter via a burofax and they have called for an urgent board meeting.
It has been on cards after Barcelona led by Messi was crashed out of the Champions League quarterfinal following a lame 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich. Since then a sea of change has been sweeping through Barcelona.
They had sacked coach Enrique Setian to begin with and appointed former player and Dutch international Ronald Koeman as coach. Koeman had already indicated to Luis Suarez that the Uruguay footballer has absolutely no place in his scheme of things and it would be wise of him to find a new home next season.
But even amid that both Barcelona president and Koeman had insisted that Messi would lead the charge of next generation at the club to which he was fiercely loyal after arriving there as a 14-year-old prodigy from Argentina.
The reports in Spain and Argentina say that Messi has indeed invoked a clause in his last contract signed as per which he can leave Nou Camp for free. However, that stipulation in the contract has expired on June 10 and now his departure has a release clause of 700 million Euro.
His next destination could be Manchester City in Premier League if the all the speculations are to be believed. The logic is being based on the fact that City is coached by Pep Guardiola, once a favourite coach of Messi at Barcelona.
It has also been rumoured that Paris Saint Germain, the runners-up in this year's Champions League too are waiting on the wings to snaffle Messi. Realistically, only one those super clubs can afford the wages of Messi if Barcelona activate that massive release clause.
Messi, 33, has played his entire football career with Barcelona scoring more than 600 goals, winning 6 Ballon d'Ors, four Champions League titles and 10 La Liga titles. His rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo, who has now moved to Juventus in Serie A, had headlined several La Liga seasons.