AFRICA MIRROR REPORTER
LIONEL Messi’s decision to leave the club he joined as a 13-year-old boy has led to the resignation of Barcelona’s chief executive, deep anger among the club’s fans and wild speculation about his next club.
Messi, the Argentinian superstar who is the heart and soul of Barcelona, activated the release clause on his contract days after the club’s 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinal. Munich went on to win the trophy with a 1-0 victory over PSG.
Following confirmation that Messi (33) has formally handed in a request for the immediate termination of his contract after two decades at the club, CEO Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned.
Messi, who won the Ballon d’Or a record six times, made his debut for Barcelona in 2004 and has won the Champions League four times. He also holds the record of most goalso holds the record for:
- Most goals scored for a single club in the Champions League (115).
- Most goals scored in La Liga (444).
- Top goal scorer in all club competitions in one calendar year 2012. (79 goals).
- Only player to score more than 40 goals in 10 consecutive seasons.
Messi’s decision means that Barcelona’s new manager Dutchman Ronald Koeman failed in his stated mission to keep the superstar at the club.
Hours after the news broke and went viral on social media fans gathered at Camp Nou to show support for Messi. Over two million tweets were exchanged soon thereafter.
Messi’s decision, the biggest news in world sport, has gone viral with wild speculation about his next club. Fans of top clubs such as Juventus, PSG, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea dressed him in their team colours and posted the pictures on social media.
The superstar however has to jump a legal obstacle before joining his next club. He had until June 10 to exercise his right to a free transfer and did not. He is contracted to Barcelona until 2021 and the club retains the right to activate the 730-million Euros buy out clause.