After Lionel Messi’s public spat with Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal, speculation has linked him with an exit from the Nou Camp.
Given what the 32-year-old has achieved with the Catalan giants and how settled he has been with the reigning La Liga giants for countless years, an exit is surely unlikely.
However, as noted by the Evening Standard, it has been suggested that there is a clause in his contract which allows him to leave at the end of this season, despite the fact that it runs until 2021.
That’s because there is an agreement between club and club legend, similar to how they’ve dealt with the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Carles Puyol in the past, that if he wishes to leave, they will not stand in his way given what he has contributed to their success.
It has since been reported that Abidal will not be sacked by club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, and so it remains to be seen if the tension between the pair continues which in turn pushes Messi closer to the exit door or if they are able to put the spat behind them and move forward together at Barcelona.
For now though, there is seemingly speculation that Messi could secure a shock exit, and La Gazzetta dello Sport claim that only a select few clubs would have any hope of prising him away from the Catalan giants.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Inter are all specifically mentioned as ‘possible buyers’, as ultimately they could have the finances and the appeal to convince Messi to start a new challenge elsewhere.
That said, it’s surely entirely unrealistic to think that he will leave Barcelona over this situation, as clear-the-air talks will surely put the spat to bed within minutes and it suits no one for Messi to leave at this stage.