Report: Lionel Messi's Contract Allows for Barcelona Exit After Every Season

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IISeptember 5, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 04: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona waves to the crowd prior to the Joan Gamper Trophy match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal at Nou Camp on August 04, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is reportedly able to leave the Catalan giants at the end of every season should he desire. 

According to El Pais (h/t AS), the Argentinian has a clause in his contract that "allows him to opt out at the end of every year if he chooses."

Barcelona "do not fear" Messi entering talks with other clubs in January and have had similar agreements in the past with key players Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez, per the report.

Messi signed his most recent contract with Barcelona in November 2017. The club announced the deal runs until 2021 and contains a buyout clause of €700 million:

The Barcelona captain said at the time that he hoped to finish his career at Barcelona, per BBC Sport.

"I'm happy to continue with the club, which is my home," he said. "My dream was to finish my career at Barca and we are moving down that path."

Meanwhile, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu told ESPN FC's Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens in April that he wants to hand Messi another contract renewal.

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"We would like to renew his contract, that's the idea," he said. "He is young - you can see that [in his performances] - and he still has two years on his deal."

Messi has enjoyed a stellar career since arriving at the Camp Nou from Argentina as a 13-year-old and is widely recognised as the best player in the world. He is the club's record goalscorer and has won a multitude of titles, including four UEFA Champions League crowns.

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona with Champions League trophy during the UEFA Champions League  final match between Barcelona and Juventus on June 6, 2015 at the Olympic stadium in Berlin, Germany.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Yet the forward has also spoken of his desire to play back in his homeland for former club Newell's Old Boys before he hangs up his boots.

He told Argentina television station El Trece (h/t The Independent's Rik Sharma) that he does not expect to feature for another European club but would like to play in Argentina.

"I'm increasingly sure that in Europe, Barcelona will be my only club. I always said I wanted to play in Argentine football one day, I don’t know if it will happen but I have it in my mind. It would be at Newell's, nowhere else. I would like to do that for at least six months, but you never know what will happen."

According to Cadena SER's Carrusel (h/t Marca) Messi can only activate the clause in his contract if he wants to join a club outside of Europe.

Messi celebrated his 32nd birthday in June but has shown no signs of slowing down. He finished the 2018-19 season as Europe's top scorer for the sixth time in his career:

The Argentina international is approaching the end of his career but remains the club's most important player. Barcelona will be desperate to keep hold of him for as long as possible and will be keen for him to sign another contract extension to secure his future.