Lionel Messi has 'Catalan Independence escape clause in contract'

Lionel Messi is widely regarded as the best footballer in the world

Lionel Messi is apparently concerned about the consequences of Catalan independence

Friday, January 5, 2018

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has forced the club to include a special clause in his contract to deal with the implications of Catalan independence.

That's according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, which reports that the Argentine playmaker is deeply concerned that Barca will be kicked out of the Spanish league and forced to play in an inferior competition if Catalonia breaks from Madrid.

The paper claims Messi demanded that Barca insert a release clause in his latest contract, signed late last year, which stipulates that he will only stay at the club in the event of independence if they remain in "a top European league".

If Barca are forced to find an inferior competition, or create their own Catalan league, Messi will be able to leave the club without paying his release clause of 700 million euros (£623 million).

Under Spanish sports law, Barca would be prevented from remaining in the country's La Liga competition if Catalonia secedes - and it is far from certain that another top league, such as England's Premier League or Germany's Bundesliga, would be willing to accept them.

El Mundo claims that Barca "understand that Catalan independence would constitute a major change to [Messi's] contract" and thus have agreed to insert the escape clause.

Messi, 30, made his debut for Barca in 2004 and has since become one of the most revered footballers of all time, leading the club to four Champions League titles.

Widely regarded as the best footballer of his generation, Messi has scored an incredible 364 goals in 399 games for Barca, as well as 61 goals for the Argentine national side.

Last year he was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 21 months in jail, but he did not serve a single day of his term as sentences of under two years are suspended under Spanish law.