Lionel Messi's S$1.13b release clause is still valid: La Liga

La Liga released a statement yesterday saying Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract was still valid, days after his shock announcement that he wants to leave the club and hours after he failed to attend a pre-season medical.

The ruling body said the only way for the Argentinian forward to be released from the contract was to trigger a 700-million euro (S$1.13 billion) release clause.

"In compliance with the applicable rule, La Liga will not approve a request to be de-registered as a player with the Spanish football federation, unless the amount in the release clause has been paid," La Liga said in a statement.

Messi did not attend a medical with Barcelona yesterday, a Barca club source confirmed. Reuters footage showed players arriving for Covid-19 tests and Messi did not appear. He had been due at Barcelona's training ground at 10.15am local time.

The 33-year-old informed the club last Tuesday he wished to leave immediately, plunging Barca into new turmoil.

Messi's lawyers plan to invoke a clause in his four-year contract, signed in 2017, which would have allowed the attacker to leave the club for free if he had requested it by June 10.

They will argue that that date - nominally 10 days after the end of the campaign - is irrelevant after the coronavirus delays that led to the season's extension. - REUTERS