Messi and his lawyers are adamant that he has activated the clause in his contract that will allow him to leave on a free this summer, while the club are insistent that said clause expired at the end of July,and that the only way he will be leaving is if another club pays his €700 million release clause.
This has induced perhaps the greatest transfer saga in modern football history.
Let's look at 6 other sagas that have taken place over the years.
Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid
"You don't think we'd get into a contract with that mob, do you? Jesus Christ. I wouldn't sell them a virus.”
Those were Sir Alex Ferguson’s words in December 2008 after becoming irritated with the continuous reports linking Ronaldo with Real Madrid.
It was reported that a “gentleman’s agreement” had been reached between the two clubs over Ronaldo’s transfer, but Fergie denied this at every occasion.
He even said moving to the Bernabeu would be “the worst possible thing” for Ronaldo’s career. But in June 2009, the winger signed a Real in a world-record £80m deal.
Antoine Griezmann - The Decision
What a mess this was.
Griezmann was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in the summer of 2018 but committed his future to Atletico Madrid in a video titled ‘The Decision’.
It was a 25-minute documentary in which the French international is seen talking to him family and explaining his thoughts about the whole thing.
One year later, following Atleti’s trophyless 2018/19 season, Griezmann joined Barcelona after they activated his €120m release clause.
Luis Suarez to Barcelona
Suarez was keen to leave Liverpool by the summer of 2013 in order to compete for the biggest trophies, with a move to Barcelona on his radar.
But Arsenal thought they could get the Uruguayan by just activating his £40 million release clause. They added an extra pound on top just to ensure the deal would go through.
What do you think they're smoking over there at Emirates?— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013
Liverpool then promised Suarez he would be allowed to leave if he gave the Reds one more good season, which he did, and he joined Barcelona for £75m in 2014.
Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain
Realising that he would never be the star with Lionel Messi around, Neymar decided to quit Barcelona in 2017.
PSG activated his €222m release clause but their payment was rejected by La Liga due to FFP concerns.
A quarrel ensued, but Neymar eventually joined PSG in early August.
John Obi Mikel to Man United to Chelsea
This was a strange one.
Man United had rushed through a deal to sign Mikel from Norwegian club Lyn in 2018, but they hadn’t informed his agents of the deal.
Chelsea then intervened, saying they had first dibs on the midfielder as they had helped with his initial move to Europe.
Mikel had been pictured in a Man United shirt but after months of twists, claims of kidnapping and a legal battle, he ended up signing for Chelsea.
Paul Pogba to Man United
This was perhaps the longest transfer deal in the history of transfer deals.
It took an absolute age for the deal to be agreed in the summer of 2016, so much so that some of the excitement had waned.
To make things even more frustrating, Man United’s slick announcement video featuring UK rapper Stormzy was posted after midnight, meaning many people were asleep when it was released.