Reuters has quoted an unnamed Barcelona FC source as confirming that football star Lionel Messi had not attended coronavirus testing at the Spanish football club scheduled for Sunday.
This followed Catalan radio station RAC1 reporter Gerard Romero tweeted on Saturday that “Messi communicated to Barca that he wouldn’t appear for the PCR [polymerase chain reaction] test on 30 August prior to the start of the new season”.
The move comes after Messi sent a legal notice to Barcelona's board by burofax on 25 August about his intention to unilaterally break his contract and leave the club.
The 33-year-old football star has a contract with the Catalan club until 2021 with a clause to leave Barcelona at the end of the 2019-20 season, which expired on 31 July.
Shortly after Barcelona confirmed that Messi had notified them about his desire to leave the Catalan club, fans started to crowd outside the Camp Nou to show support for the player and beg him to stay.
Manchester City Reportedly Interested in Messi
In a separate development, the Daily Mail claimed earlier this week that Manchester City is "ready to offer" Barcelona $118.1 million, as well as Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, and Eric Garcia in exchange for Messi.
Messi, who has been at Barcelona since the age of 13, made his senior debut there in 2004. He has made 485 appearances for the Catalan squad, scoring 444 goals.
Exiting this year's Champions League with a humiliating defeat against Bayern Munich 8-2, Barcelona finished their season without any significant title for the first time since 2008.