Lionel Messi sent a burofax to then-Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu just over one year ago stating that he wants to leave the club, yet it took another 12 months before the Argentine actually departed the Camp Nou.
On August 24, 2020, Messi and his camp made clear to Bartomeu and his board that he was planning to leave on the 30th of that month by invoking a clause in the contract that allowed him to become a free agent.
The burofax, which has now been revealed by Mundo Deportivo, shows that Messi himself signed the document, as he specified the terms of the clause that allowed him to be released from his contract.
What Messi’s burofax said
“Dear Mr. Bartomeu,” Messi’s burofax began.
“Hereby, and in accordance with the provisions of clause 3.1 of the contract dated November 25, 2017, I hereby express my wish to terminate my employment contract as a professional footballer with effect from August 30, 2020.
“I understand that the time frame of the right of unilateral termination without cause regulated by the aforementioned clause must be interpreted in accordance with the exceptional circumstances in which the 2019/20 football competition season has taken place, due to the state of emergency and the situation of force majeure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to these exceptional circumstances, the 2019/20 competition season ended yesterday, without prejudice to the fact that for our team, this end took place on August 15, when we returned to Barcelona after our elimination from the Champions League on the night of August 14.
“In any case, within 10 days following the end of the season of competition, and thus meeting the agreed deadline for exercising the aforementioned clause 3.1., in accordance with the material contract of our agreement, which must be interpreted in accordance with the exceptional circumstances of the 2019/20 season, I exercise my right to terminate the contract with effect from August 30, 2020, with the consequences provided for in the aforementioned stipulation 3.1.
“Lionel Andres Messi.”
Ultimately, though, Barcelona did not deem this to be sufficient and refused to let Messi leave the club.
Messi, whose contract was due to expire one year later on June 30, 2021, hoped for a change in the club’s management and it came months later, as Joan Laporta replaced Bartomeu as Barcelona president.
However, Barcelona’s perilous financial situation meant that Laporta and his board could not afford to keep Messi, even though the 34-year-old was willing to take a 50 percent pay cut.
Then, on August 5, 2021, as revealed by MARCA, Barcelona issued a statement in which they made clear that they could not keep Messi and adhere to LaLiga’s salary cap rules.
Five days later, Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain was confirmed