Despite having extended his contract with Barcelona for another five years, Lionel Messi could yet become a free agent this year…if Catalonia finally get their independence, according to reports in Spain.
The people of Catalonia – where Barcelona is based – have been calling for independence for their region from Spain, and it saw the area plunged into chaos last year, when an unauthorised referendum sparked anarchy in streets.
Votes overwhelmingly elected to declare Catalonia independent — a result which has not been recognised by the Spanish government.
But should the people get their way, it could mean Barcelona are removed from La Liga in order to compete in what would become a national Catalan league.
And El Mundo have revealed there is a special clause in Messi’s contract which would see him become a free agent if they are not competing in one of Europe’s top five leagues.
There have been rumours that Barcelona would be admitted to the Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1 or the Bundesliga should they be barred from playing in La Liga.
And, in that case, potential suitors would still need to meet his buy-out clause of £623million.