11:51 GMT24 September 2020
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    On Tuesday, Lionel Messi notified Barcelona of his decision to leave the Spanish football club despite having a contract that doesn’t end until June 2021. The move came after his club’s surprise 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

    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.

    FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, left, duels for the ball against Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, from Portugal, during their quarterfinal, second leg, Copa del Rey soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012
    © AP Photo / Manu Fernandez
    FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, left, duels for the ball against Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, from Portugal, during their quarterfinal, second leg, Copa del Rey soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

    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.

    Also tracking the Barcelona star are reportedly Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Inter Milan, and Juventus.

    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.

    Related:

    Spanish Newspaper Outlines Three Scenarios For Lionel Messi’s Future in Barcelona
    'You Don't Want Him Playing Against You': Barcelona's Head Coach Hopes Messi Will Stay, Media Says
    Messi Reportedly Reaches Out to Pep Guardiola to Discuss Possible Transfer to Manchester City
    Tags:
    intention, COVID-19, coronavirus, testing, Manchester City, FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi, Spain
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