BARCELONA – A year this August 25 marks the greatest social earthquake that devastated Barcelona in the midst of depression eleven days after the terrible 2-8 in Lisbon against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and that ended in a bad way with the adventure of Quique Setién on the Barça bench.
While the then president Josep María Bartomeu was quick to point out that the club’s only crisis was “sports”, Lionel Messi sent a burofax to the offices by which he requested his immediate release letter, invoking a clause of the contract that was prolonged until June 2021.
In the Camp Nou offices the document was received with horror and the reaction was immediate. Barça issued a statement in which it reported that the reasons put forward by the Argentine crack did not adhere to legality because the referred clause had ceased to be valid on the previous June 10 and that, therefore, “it has a contract in force” , closing any possibility of accepting, not even, negotiating an agreed exit because the club’s desire continued to be “for Leo to retire as a Barcelona footballer.”
Leo’s advisers wielded in their writing that the lockout of Spanish football, in March 2020, due to the health crisis caused by the coronavirus, caused that the famous clause did not expire in June, but should be prolonged for as long as it existed. inactivity and that being three months it offered him an extension until the beginning of September, which is why they understood to be in the correct time and form to request his departure at no cost.
Barcelona remained firm in proclaiming that Messi’s contract was unalterable and that he could only leave the club upon payment of the 700 million euros established in his termination clause while speculation about an interest from clubs such as Manchester City grew around the club or PSG for opening the doors in the event of leaving Barça. It was even published that both clubs would be ultimately willing to negotiate with Bartomeu a symbolic transfer (there was talk of about 100 million euros) to prevent the case from becoming entrenched or ending up in court.
The following days were of hectic activity in a confrontation that did not suggest a consensual solution. On August 30, the player did not appear for the club’s summons to undergo the PCR tests and deliberately missed the first training sessions of the squad while Barcelona kept a low profile in the conflict, ruling out opening a sanctioning file.
The legal services of the Barça club confirmed in its entirety that Leo had no legal basis to leave the Camp Nou as he intended and Jorge Messi’s trip to Barcelona, interpreted at first as the final arreón of his advisers for leaving, ended by become the beginning of the end of his rebellion. On September 4, the Argentine star offered an interview in which he took for granted his permanence because “he would never go to trial against the club of my life”, taking the opportunity to shoot Bartomeu, whom he accused of lying and not having ” neither project nor anything, they are juggling and covering holes “.
And three days later, on September 7, he finally returned to the sports discipline of the first team, after holding a meeting with Ronald Koeman, without hiding his fury with the club, which had sentenced Luis Suárez, and assuming that he stayed against his will.
Messi stayed at Barça, at that time, because it was impossible for him to leave as he wanted and he began the season with an evident depression that was subsiding over the weeks. The untimely departure of Bartomeu and his entire board of directors two months after the crisis unleashed began to change the mood of the player, whose permanence, renewal, was considered a fact after the victory of Joan Laporta in the elections of March 7, 2021.
Until on August 5, the club announced in a statement that Messi would not continue as Barça player. In August 2020, it is one year old, the star could not leave. In 2021 … he couldn’t stay.