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  • Leonel Messi arriving at a training session in Barcelona, Spain, May 6, 2020.

    Leonel Messi arriving at a training session in Barcelona, Spain, May 6, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 31 August 2020
Opinion

The player said to have no desire to begin pre-season preparations and wants to leave the club.

Barcelona Soccer Club star Lionel Messi Monday was absent from the team's pre-season COVID-19 tests, a decision that strengthens his determination to abandon the club he has been linked to for over the past 19 years.

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The Argentinean player was due for testing at 10.15 am, along with his teammates. However, he had already instructed the club through his lawyers that he would not be taking part in the exams.

Many experts say that Messi’s decision is a move to boycott pre-season and force his way out of the club. Without been tested, the 33-year-old player will be unable to attend the first pre-season training session, something that worries the club board since the start of the new La Liga season is less than two weeks away.

However, Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planes stressed that the club wants to keep Messi and rebuild the team around him under new head coach Ronald Koeman.

"You have to have enormous respect for Leo because of what he is... We are not thinking about any contractual clause," he said.

"Messi's marriage to Barca has given both parties a lot, much joy to the fans, and internally we are working to convince Messi, to find the best solution for Barca and for Messi.”

A couple of weeks ago, the club’s board revealed that the player asked to leave the team this summer, even when his contract expires in June 2021.

After that, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with clubs such as Manchester City, Manchester United, Inter Milan, and Paris Saint Germain.

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