Lionel Messi did not attend a pre-season medical with Barcelona on Sunday, a Barca club source confirmed, following his shock announcement on Tuesday that he wants to leave the club.
Reuters footage showed players arriving for coronavirus tests on Sunday morning and Messi did not appear. He had been due at Barcelona's training ground at 10.15am local time. Players had been given staggered appointments throughout the morning until midday.
Media reports on Saturday said Messi would not undergo a pre-season medical or attend training on Monday.
The 33-year-old six-times world player of the year informed his lifelong club on Tuesday he wished to leave immediately, plunging Barca into new turmoil less than two weeks after its humiliating 8-2 Champions League quarter-final defeat by Bayern Munich.
Messi's lawyers plan to invoke a clause in his four-year contract, signed in 2017, which 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 seasons extension and the team playing deep into August.
Under the terms of the contract which expires in 2021, the only way Messi can leave without the clubs consent is if another club pays his release clause of 700 million euros.
La Liga: Messi contract still valid
La Liga on Sunday released a statement saying Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract was still valid.
“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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