Lionel Messi will not leave Barcelona this summer to join Manchester City, according to a new report. Rumors in the media had said that the Argentine star would be able to leave for free next summer if he so chose to, and City considered themselves the favorites to land him.
Manchester City’s official webpage even went so far as to post news of the rumors, citing, among others, this website as a source.
Sky Sports reports that the Argentine star is not thinking about leaving at all, despite rumored interest from superclubs. Instead, he reportedly wants to remain until at least his current deal expires, 2021, but would be open to extending it further.
Messi has publicly stated in the past he will evaluate year by year whether he can continue at the highest level.
There is some controversy about the clause in Messi’s contract which supposedly would allow him to leave for free starting next summer. Some reports have said the free release clause only applies to clubs outside of Europe, although other reports do not say that is a limitation.
Even if it was limited to a move to a non European team, one wonders whether, for example, an Asian team could sign him for free and put him up for sale to a European club right after. Of course, in any scenario, the player himself would have to agree to the move.
As things stand, it seems Messi is simply too loyal to make a switch.