Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona.
After 16 seasons incredible at Camp Nou, the man seen by many as the greatest footballer of all time is done.
But he won’t be going quietly. The club are desperate to keep Messi and will make it very hard for him to walk.
Much of the argument revolves around his contract.
The Argentine believes he’s entitled to activate the clause in his deal that allows him to leave for free every summer, while Barca are demanding his €700m buyout is met.
On Sunday, La Liga sided with the club and shared a statement confirming that the only way Messi can leave is if a club pays his release clause.
Surely no one can afford that? €700m is an extortionate amount of money, but it’s nowhere near the biggest in football.
Check out an XI of the players who have the highest release clauses in the world.
GK – Thibaut Courtois | Real Madrid | €700m
Back in 2018, Courtois forced a move from Chelsea to Real Madrid. Regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he arrived for just £31.5m
Los Blancos inserted a €700m buyout into his deal to ensure the Belgian will be at the Bernabeu for many years to come.
CB: Raphael Varane | Real Madrid | €500m
Regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, it’s little shock that Madrid have written a huge release clause into Varane’s contract.
Any club hoping to sign the defender will have to pay €500m for the World Cup winner.
CB: Samuel Umtiti | Barcelona | €500m
Like Varane, Umtiti has a €500m buyout in his contract. Barcelona signed the defender back in 2016, but reports suggest he has been told by Ronald Koeman that he’s not needed at Camp Nou.
In this rare instance, the club may be willing to sell for much, much less than €500m.
CB: Gerard Pique | Barcelona | €500m
Pique completes the back three and his release clause is the same as the two above.
Now 33, the Spaniard is past his prime but has been one of the best defenders in the world for over a decade now. No wonder his contract, signed in 2018, included a huge buyout.
LM: Isco | Real Madrid | €700m
Isco has found himself out of favour at Madrid in recent years and he’s also struggled to hold down a starting place due to injury.
But when he signed his latest deal in 2017, Los Blancos inserted a €700m release clause into his contract. Would any club really pay that for Isco? We’re not so sure.
CM: Luka Modric | Real Madrid | €750m
When Modric signed his contract in 2016, Real Madrid included a hefty buyout clause of €750m.
It seems they were right to do so, considering the Croatian midfielder went on to win the Ballon d’Or in 2018 while proving his importance to the club.
CM: Federico Valverde | Real Madrid | €750m
This one might come as a bit of a shock. Valverde has done very little to prove his incredible worth at the Bernabeu.
But the fact that the club set his release clause at €750m back in 2019 proves that he’s got a bright future ahead of him.
RM: Marco Asensio | Real Madrid | €700m
Like his midfield partner Isco, Asensio has a €700m clause in the contract he signed back in 2017.
Real Madrid really were desperate to tie their stars down that summer, weren’t they?
FWD: Lionel Messi | Barcelona | €700m
The man that all the debate surrounds. It sounds like the only way Messi can leave Barca this summer is if a club triggers his €700m buyout.
It’s incredibly unlikely that will happen, so the Argentine may have to fight his way out of Camp Nou – via court.
FWD: Karim Benzema | Real Madrid | €1bn
Benzema has the biggest buyout clause in this XI, set at a ridiculous €1 billion.
He’s spent over a decade at Madrid and is undoubtedly one of the club’s greatest ever players, but to sign a deal with a €1bn release clause at the age of 32 is quite extraordinary.
FWD: Antoine Griezmann | Barcelona | €800m
Despite Messi’s stature at Camp Nou, his buyout clause is dwarfed by Griezmann, who would cost €800m to buy.
Barca found it tough to get their man in 2019 and have made sure no one else can touch him for as long as he’s needed by the club.
That’s one ridiculously expensive XI. As you can see, all the players involved are from Barcelona and Real Madrid.
In Spain, club’s are required to insert release clauses into deals. Other countries don’t follow that rule. But it’s certainly a good way to protect your prize assets as Barca are finding out.
- Barcelona’s potential starting XI without Lionel Messi
- Donny van de Beek’s stats prove he’d be a good signing
- Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties to win Community Shield