Lionel Messi's Barcelona exit set to mimic Neymar's with ugly legal battle as Fifa and Uefa cannot intervene
LIONEL MESSI'S Barcelona exit could mimic Neymar's Nou Camp departure with an ugly, long-running legal battle.
The Argentine star, 33, revealed he wants to quit the club earlier this week after a horror end to the 2019-20 season.
Messi has a clause in his contract freeing Fifa and Uefa from having to intervene in any potential dispute between player and club.
That means any row between Messi and Barcelona will go straight to the Spanish courts.
That could kick-off a long-running saga – much like Neymar's row with Barca following his world-record £198million move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.
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The Brazilian star has been locked in a court battle with the club for three years now.
In January, Neymar opened up a third case against Barcelona.
He is understood to have been trying to claim "contingency payments" which helped secure his transfer from Santos in 2013.
Neymar had already taken his old club to court over a series of unpaid loyalty bonuses.
All in all, the PSG star demanded a whopping £33m from the club.
Barcelona also opened up a "breach of contract" lawsuit against Neymar,
The LaLiga giants demanded the forward repay his contract renewal bonus and pay £8m in damages plus 10 per cent arrears for heading to Paris.
Given his age, Barcelona are likely to avoid any legal drama surrounding Messi's exit – and let him walk away on good terms.
Should a legal battle ensue, the club would likely be dealing with the ramifications long after their superstar winger had retired.
In February, reports stated Santos were still chasing money from Barcelona for the Neymar transfer – seven years after he made the switch.
They still believe they are owed £3.75m after Barca failed to play the second of two promised friendlies with Santos.
Since the transfer, there have been a number of disputes regarding the move.
Neymar was ordered to stand trial in 2017 for fraud over the deal, which has been investigated since January 2014.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu was charged with tax fraud and corruption for his part in the transfer.
The club even admitted they actually paid £78m for the star – and not the £49m originally reported.
Brazilian investment company DIS then brought a case of their own, claiming they were due 40 per cent of that transfer fee while Neymar's parents reportedly pocketed £34m.
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