• Barca believe Messi can leave for free if he misses 2020-21 season
  • Messi's current deal expires in the summer of 2021
  • Man City reportedly have offered Messi a five-year deal

Lionel Messi reportedly will have to miss the 2020-21 season to leave FC Barcelona as a free agent this summer.

Messi’s transfer saga at Barcelona continues as the skipper is adamant about leaving the club ahead of the new campaign. After the humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich at the 2019-20 Champions League quarter-final, Messi informed the Catalans that he wanted to leave the Nou Camp side despite having another year left in his current contract.

While he believed he could trigger the clause in his deal that would let him leave for free this summer, Barcelona have maintained the clause expired in June irrespective of the extension of the 2019-20 edition. Messi, who has been associated with the La Liga side for about two decades now, has been linked with a move to Manchester City as it is understood that Pep Guardiola’s side has already offered Messi a five-year contract.

However, Man City are still uncertain if it can sign Messi for free or trigger his release clause, which is a hefty $826 million. In a bid to push Barcelona to let him part ways for free, Messi reportedly skipped the coronavirus test that took place at their training ground Sunday. While the entire first-team underwent the test, it is understood that Messi was the only absentee.

Sources related to Barcelona have informed sports website ESPN that Barcelona are willing to let Messi leave as a free agent, provided he gives up a season’s wages and does not sign for a new club until the summer of 2021 when his existing deal with the Catalans is due to expire. The report has further revealed Messi’s legal team continues to argue the player has unilaterally canceled his contract at Barcelona and to not compromise the claim, Messi did not show up for Barcelona’s preseason that began Monday.

Earlier, rumors in Spain stated Messi’s release clause of $826 million was no longer active, creating further confusion. Putting an end to the false reports, La Liga said in an official statement that Messi's deal is still existing and it would not aid his registration for another club without the clause being paid.

It was previously reported that Barcelona’s new coach Ronald Koeman has identified Liverpool forward Sadio Mane as Messi’s long-term replacement at Nou Camp, and the Senegal national is open to considering a move away from Anfield.

Messi, who made his first-team debut with Barcelona in 2004, has netted over 600 goals for the club and has led them to many laurels including four Champions League trophies and 10 La Liga titles.