Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart does not believe Lionel Messi will be able to force through a move away from the club this summer due to an expired clause in his contract.
Messi shocked the world of football yesterday when he sent a burofax to Barcelona declaring his intentions to leave the Catalan giants.
His contract contains a clause which allows him to leave for free at the end of any season he chooses, and it is believed Messi is intending to activate it and move on in the coming weeks.
However, Barcelona are insistent the clause for this season already expired in June, and thus is unable to be used until the end of the next campaign.
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And speaking to Radio Marca, Gaspart stated his belief that it is Barcelona who are in the right in the dispute.
"(Messi) cannot leave," he said. "He will have to leave in 2021. I have seen the contract and it is very clear. The clause ended in June and there is no going back.
"I prefer him to leave next year for zero than to go now for less than €700m. The club is in charge here, not the player.
"The club paid the players. And this is not a matter of money, there is a signed contract and that’s it."
Gaspart seems puzzled by Messi's desire to leave Barcelona, and added: "I don’t understand why he is leaving Barcelona. Well, I do understand because I know these plays by football players well.
"We all want him to stay at Barcelona. Doesn’t he want to stay? What’s going on? Are the millions of club members who ask him to stay not worth it?
"Does he think that Barcelona have not helped him to be what he is? Messi is loved a lot and I hope he will enjoy one more year [at Barcelona].
"I’d rather him go for free next year than this one for €699m. Barcelona shouldn’t lower [his price] one euro."
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