Lionel Messi – a timeline of events in the Barcelona star’s summer saga

Lionel Messi has decided to remain at Barcelona after admitting he was not prepared to go to court to secure his release from the Spanish giants.

The 33-year-old Argentina forward had hoped to use a clause in his contract to leave Barca for free but the club and LaLiga said it would take 700 million euros to release Messi from his deal.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how the saga unfolded in recent weeks.

August 14 – Messi and Barcelona are humiliated as they crash out of the Champions League following an 8-2 thrashing by eventual winners Bayern Munich in their one-off quarter-final clash.

Lionel Messi is waving goodbye to Barcelona
Lionel Messi is waving goodbye to Barcelona

August 17 – Head coach Quique Setien pays the price for the crushing Bayern defeat and finishing second to Real Madrid in LaLiga as he is sacked just over eight months after taking charge at the Nou Camp – his relationship with Messi had reportedly turned sour.

August 19 – Former Barca midfielder Ronald Koeman leaves his job as manager of Holland to take over from Setien, with reports claiming he told Messi he would no longer have the “privileges” he had become accustomed to.

August 25 – Messi sends a burofax to Barcelona chiefs informing them he wishes to leave – with claims of disagreements between the player and the club of the validity of a contract clause which would allow him to move away for free.

📍 Ciutat EsportivaThe first training session led by our new head coach @RonaldKoeman 🙌🔵🔴

— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 31, 2020

August 30 – Messi does not turn up for his scheduled Covid-19 test ahead of Barcelona’s start to pre-season training – meaning he cannot join in with Koeman’s plans. Later in the day LaLiga issues a statement siding with Barcelona in the dispute over whether Messi can depart for nothing.

September 2 – Messi and his father Jorge hold a meeting with Barcelona, after Messi senior has told the Spanish press it would be “difficult” for his son to stay at the Nou Camp.

September 4 – Messi’s father Jorge writes to LaLiga insisting his son is contractually allowed to leave Barcelona for free in the current transfer window. However, Messi later confirms his intention was to stay because he did not want to take Barcaelona to court. He told “I am going to continue in the club because the president (Josep Maria Bartomeu) told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700million euros clause, and that is impossible, and then the only other way was to go to court.”