Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wishes to leave the club immediately, according to a club source.
Messi, who has spent his entire professional career at Barca, informed the club about his desire to leave by sending a burofax, a service used in Spain to urgently dispatch a document that requires proof to third parties.
The 33-year-old, who joined the club in 2000 as a youth player, has a contract with the Catalans until 2021.
However, that deal contains a clause which allows the Argentine to terminate his contract at the end of each season, normally before 31 May.
There are claims that Messi and his legal team believe it should be extended to cover the prolonged season – which ran until August following the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and that his €700m buyout clause doesn’t apply in this instance.
It remains to be seen how Barcelona will respond to Messi’s request, with the club trying to rebuild following the appointment of Ronald Koeman as head coach.
Messi was part of the Barcelona side that was thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, and speaking recently Koeman said he was looking forward to working with the forward.
“It is a pleasure to have a player like Messi in the team. His qualities will help the team to develop,” he told Barcelona’s official website.
Club legend Carles Puyol took to Twitter to post a message which read: “Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend”, drawing a reaction from Luis Suarez, who looks like facing an unceremonious departure of his own from Barca.