Barcelona wants Lionel Messi to stay for the remainder of his career but according to reports in Spain the star striker could in fact leave the Camp Nou for nothing in two years’ time.
Catalan publication Mundo Deportivo claims that the Argentine No.10 has a clause in his current contract that will allow him to leave Barcelona on a free transfer in 2020 – as long as he doesn’t sign for an “elite club”.
Elite, ESPN explains, means a team not based in Europe’s big five leagues: La Liga, the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1.
Messi’s current contract at Barcelona expires in 2021 and the club are already planning to offer the 31-year-old an extension until 2022 or 2023.
However, if the 2020 clause is correct where could Messi go next? ESPN reported that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has a desire to play for boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina before retiring from football.
Speaking in 2016, Messi said: “I would love to [return]. It is something I have kept an eye on because it was my dream as a child. Obviously my life started to change and went another way, but I have no regrets.
“It’s something I have kept an eye on. I want to play in Argentine football and Newell’s, where I grew up.”
In September Messi was also linked with a move to the United States with David Beckham’s Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami.
It’s claimed that former England captain Beckham wants Messi to be Inter Miami’s star name when they join the MLS in 2020.