Lionel Messi

The Spanish La Liga on Sunday released a statement stating that Lionel Messi’s FC Barcelona contract was still valid.

This announcement comes days after Messi announced that he wants to leave the club and failed to attend a pre-season medical.

La Liga said the only way for the Argentine forward to be released from the contract was to trigger a 700-million euros (833 million dollars) 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.

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Messi’s lawyers plan to invoke a clause in his four-year contract, signed in 2017.

It would have allowed the forward to leave the club for free if he had requested it by June 10.

They will argue that that date —- nominally the end of the season —- is now irrelevant after the coronavirus delays that led to the season’s extension and the team playing deep into August.

Reuters/NAN