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Lionel Messi's burofax to ex-Barcelona president Bartomeu revealed

13:37 BST 05/09/2021
Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21
The Argentine striker made an ultimately fruitless attempt to leave the club in the summer of 2020

Lionel Messi’s infamous burofax, which he sent to former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu last year in an attempt to engineer a move away from Camp Nou, has now been revealed.

Messi expressed his desire to leave Barca shortly after their Champions League thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in August 2020 and believed there was a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave for free, despite having another year left on his deal.

The Catalan side disputed the claim and Messi ultimately relented, though he would only stay for another year before moving to PSG.

What did the burofax say?

The burofax, obtained by Mundo Deportivo, is dated August 24, 2020, nine days after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 Champions League defeat by Bayern and a day after the German side lifted the trophy with victory in the final against PSG.

Messi’s contract had a clause that stipulated he could leave if he requested to do so before June 10, 2020 – the scheduled end of the 2019-20 season.

That deadline was obviously missed, but Messi argued the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic meant the clause was still valid.

He cited force majeure, which is a clause regularly used in contracts that prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations because of an unforeseen event out of their control, with the pandemic being such an event.

"I understand that the time frame of the right of unilateral termination without cause regulated by the aforementioned clause must be interpreted in accordance with the exceptional circumstances in which the 2019/20 football competition season has taken place, due to the state of emergency and the situation of force majeure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” read the burofax.

"Due to these exceptional circumstances, the 2019/20 competition season ended yesterday, without prejudice to the fact that for our team, this end took place on August 15, when we returned to Barcelona after our elimination from the Champions League on the night of August 14.

"In any case, within 10 days following the end of the season of competition, and thus meeting the agreed deadline for exercising the aforementioned clause 3.1., in accordance with the material contract of our agreement, which must be interpreted in accordance with the exceptional circumstances of the 2019/20 season, I exercise my right to terminate the contract with effect from August 30, 2020, with the consequences provided for in the aforementioned stipulation 3.1."

Barcelona disputed the claim and it looked like the issue would need to be decided in the courts before Messi backed down and decided to stay.

Barca hoped that Joan Laporta’s return as president and a fire-sale of players to raise funds would allow them to tie Messi down to a new contract.

They succeeded in persuading Messi to stay, but after allowing his contract to expire in June they were unable to re-register him La Liga due to the club's financial restrictions.

A tearful Messi subsequently announced his Barca departure a few days later, before making the stunning move to Parc des Princes.

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