Lionel Messi and the burofax: How Barcelona star sent his transfer demands after boardroom betrayal
Lionel Messi signed his contract at Barcelona at the age of 14 on a napkin, and now he has told his beloved club that he is ready to depart via burofax.
It is unthinkable that Messi could wear the colours of a club that aren't Blaugrana, but that could very well be a reality.
So why did Messi use a burofax to tell Barcelona he wanted to leave? Goal takes a look.
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What is a burofax?
A burofax is a form of business communication - provided by Spain's postal service - to allow sending a secure document which is recognised officially in a court or by a third party.
Burofaxes are used when the sender requires that their recipient has received the document. Basically, it is used so that whoever has received it can officially sign off on it - proving that they have served notice of the contents of the letter as of that date.
In court of law, burofaxes received by the recipient are used as acknowledgement that the document was delivered.
It is not exactly a fax, but the same basic principles apply. The term 'burofax' is also derived from the word 'facsimile', which means an exact copy.
Why did Messi use a burofax to tell Barcelona he wanted to leave?
Messi informed Barcelona of his intent to leave via burofax because he is depending on a clause that will allow him to unilaterally end his contract before the end of the season, despite his contract ending in 2021.
The end of the season would have been May 31, 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has seen football tournaments delayed by a minimum of three months, Messi and his team believe that he has had longer time in which to break the deal under the current clause.
So Messi's team are using the postponed date of the Champions League final - August 23, 2020 - as the official end of the 2020 season.
By dating his burofax prior to August 23, it would signify proof of Messi's intent to exercise the right to break his contract before the conclusion of the current campaign.
If this case goes to court, Messi and his team can use the burofax as evidence that Barcelona were informed of Messi's decision to leave on that date, so that the club will not be able to state that they never received the letter, or that it arrived after the date, which would make exercising the clause void.
However sources have confirmed to Goal that Barcelona are convinced that Messi's clause ended before June 10, and that since Messi did not outline his intents before that date, should he want to leave now, his €700 million (£630m/$825m) exit clause would have to be activated.
Messi had been unhappy at Barcelona for a while, dating back to the departure of former team-mate Neymar to PSG and his mood was exacerbated by his club's continuously humiliating performances in the Champions League.
His fallout with the board and ongoing tensions with club president Josep Bartomeu, alongside Barcelona's poor performances, are the crux of his desires to leave.
He had already expressed his dissatisfaction with the club at the start of the season, outlining his displeasure at Ernesto Valverde's dismissal as head coach as well as voicing his doubts that the club had done absolutely everything they could to re-sign Neymar from PSG.
He also stated that he was unhappy with Eric Abidal criticising individual Blaugrana players for their performances on the pitch, challenging him to name names.
After Barcelona fired Quique Setien following the infamous 8-2 defeat by Bayern in the Champions League quarter-final, they hired Ronald Koeman, who arranged an individual meeting with the Argentina star.
Messi cut his vacation short to speak to Koeman, and told the former Netherlands coach that he had no faith in the future of Barcelona's project and that he was extremely disappointed and hurt with the ongoings at the club.
It was then that Messi, amid the trickle of names of players who wanted out of the club getting leaked to the press, gave the green light for the burofax to be sent through his team - and so, fed up and heartbroken, Messi's glittering career of 20 years at his beloved Barcelona could now all end in tears.