Lionel Messi has reportedly told Barcelona he wants to leave the club this summer following discussions with their new manager Ronald Koeman.
Speculation has been rife that the Argentinean star could be set to move on ever since Barca’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
And now reports from Spain and Argentina claim that he has communicated to the club his desire for a fresh start following a turbulent season.
Fox Sports journalist Cholo Sottile tweeted on Tuesday afternoon: “Confirmed: Messi has communicated to Barcelona that he will leave.”
And TyC Sports added: “Breaking! Messi has told Barcelona he is ready to leave. He will activate a clause in his contract that will allow him to move on this summer.”
Respected journalist Guillem Balague, meanwhile, claimed he may need to take legal action to break his contract, tweeting: “Messi thinks the season finished in August, so he can use the clause that frees him from the club before the end of the month. FCB would mention that the contract talks about end of June for Messi to use the clause, so it has expired.”
It is believed Messi sent a burofax to the club confirming his intentions to leave, but they maintain that the clause in his contract allowing him to leave at the end of the season expired on June 10.
Messi has cut a forlorn figure at times in the last year or so, and it is believed his relationship with a number of figures in power at the Nou Camp has broken down.
He had a very public spat with former director Eric Abidal earlier this year, while he has also struggled to form a relationship on and off the pitch with big-money signing Antoine Griezmann.
Manchester City may well be at the front of the queue, with the intriguing possibility of a reunion with his former manager Pep Guardiola potentially on the cards.
Manchester United are another team who have been mentioned as a touted destination, while he may also fancy a return to Argentina and to his first ever club Newell’s Old Boys.
Whatever happens, the news comes as a huge blow to Barcelona, who look set to lose their talismanic figure who is undoubtedly the greatest player in the club’s history.