Lionel Messi's infamous burofax, which he sent to former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu 12 months ago in an attempt to force through a move from the Nou Camp, has now been leaked.
In the wake of Barcelona's embarrassing 8-2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich last summer, the Argentine sent a document to Bartomeu, expressing his desire to leave the Catalan giants.
Messi's fax was addressed to the unpopular president and sent to the club's head offices on August 24 at 6.19pm – a little over one week after their humiliating defeat in Lisbon.
The burofax centred on a clause in the forward's contact that stipulated he could leave Barcelona if he gave notice of his intention to do so before the end of the 2019-20 season.
However, 19-20 was no ordinary campaign, with football around the world on hiatus as the coronavirus pandemic hit, causing leagues to postpone matches which were then rescheduled for the summer.
The original planned end of the campaign was June 10, 2020, but due to Covid-19 the final round of La Liga matches did not take place until 19 July, while the Champions League final was held on August 23.
Expressing his desire to leave the club, Messi argued that the delays caused to the league season by the pandemic meant that the clause was still valid – but Barcelona claimed otherwise.
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He also cited a state of alarm and force majeure in his letter, insisting the clause should still stand amid interest from Manchester City and old boss Pep Guardiola.
The message in full – addressed to former president Bartomeu – has now been revealed by Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo.
"By means of the present, and in accordance with the provisions of clause 3.1. of the contract of 25 November 2017, I express to you my willingness to terminate my employment contract as a professional footballer with an effective date of 30 August 2020," it read.
"The aforementioned clause must be interpreted in accordance with the exceptional circumstances in which the 2019-2020 football competition season has taken place, due to the State of Alarm and the force majeure situation brought about by the covid-19 pandemic.
"Due to this exception, the 2019-2020 competition season ended yesterday, without prejudice to that for our team, this completion would take place on 15 August, when we returned to Barcelona after our elimination from the Champions League on the night of 14 August.'
"In any case, within 10 days after the end of the competition, I exercise my right to terminate the contract with effect date 30 August 2020, with the consequences provided in the aforementioned provision 3.1.
"Yours sincerely, Lionel Andrés Messi."
Barcelona clung on to Messi for another season, only for him to join Paris Saint-Germain for free at the start of the current campaign after the Catalan giants were unable to register his new contract with La Liga
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