Messi's annual Barcelona exit option does not worry Pique

Lionel Messi could conceivably walk out of Barcelona at the end of the season, but that does not worry Gerard Pique.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has a special power to become a free agent on June 30 every year, starting this season.   -  Getty Images

Gerard Pique has confirmed the existence of a clause in Lionel Messi's contract that enables the Barcelona captain to leave on a free at the end of each season – although it does not worry the defender.

Spanish newspaper El Pais first reported on the presence of a yearly exit option in the lucrative four-year deal the Argentina superstar signed in 2017.

The clause is said to have come into effect when five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi turned 32 in June.

It purportedly grants him the power to become a free agent on June 30 every year, not that centre-back Pique is concerned about losing his long-time team-mate.

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"It's something I already knew about," Pique told Cadena SER.

"We know Leo's commitment to Barca and it doesn't worry me at all. He has earned the right to be able to decide his future."

Messi has spent his entire career at Barca and was reportedly at the forefront of the Spanish champion's decision to pursue former player Neymar during the close season.

The Brazil international ended up staying at Paris Saint-Germain as the clubs apparently failed to reach an agreement before the transfer window closed on September 2.

Pique spoke to the wantaway Neymar following the deadline and told him not to give up hope on a future return to Camp Nou.

"There has been a lot of drama, but you have to turn the page," the ex-Spain international said.

"The conclusion to be drawn is that perhaps the transfer market lasting until the third week of the league season is nonsense.

"I talked to him and I said I hope he does very well this season and that you never know. Football gives you a chance every year."