La Liga backs Barcelona in contract battle with Messi

The Spanish football league, La Liga, has come out in defence of FC Barcelona and say Lionel Messi's contract with them remains valid.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Source: Associated Press

In a statement La Liga said they've analysed the contract and his $1.2 billion release clause must be met if he's to leave the Spanish club.

"The contract is currently valid and contains a release clause which is applicable should Lionel Messi decide to trigger the early unilateral termination of the contract."

However Messi's lawyers argue that the release clause is obsolete, considering the Argentinean has a term in his contract which allows him to leave for free should he chose at the end of the season.

The six time world player of the year informed the club he wanted to leave via a legal document last week.

FC Barcelona dispute this, saying that he should have requested to leave by June 10th and that that clause has since expired.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu has declared Messi not for sale and says he'll only sit with the 33-year-old to discuss a contract extension.

La Liga's statement came hours after the Barcelona captain was expected to arrive at the club's headquarters for a medical and Covid-19 test.

But Barcelona's record goalscorer failed to turn up as he forces a reported move to join former coach Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

A toxic relationship with the Barça board and president along with consistent failures on the European stage is believed to have contribuited to Messi seeking an exit.

The Argentinean has spent nearly 20 years at Barcelona since joining the club's youth academy as a 13-year-old.