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Lionel Messi transfer blow as LaLiga side with Barcelona in contract row and demand Man City pay £630m release clause

LALIGA have dropped a summer transfer blow on Lionel Messi, after siding with Barcelona in their bitter contract dispute.

The Argentine star believes that he should be eligible to walk out of Camp Nou for nothing, as part of a clause in his contract.

But LaLiga themselves have ruled that his claim is invalid – meaning that potential suitors such as Manchester City will have to pay his £630million release clause in full.

Reported by Reuters' Richard Martin, LaLiga's statement read: ""In compliance with the applicable rule, LaLiga will not approve a request to be de-registered as a player with the Spanish football federation, unless the amount in the release clause has been paid."

Messi, 33, sent a fax to the club on Tuesday informing them of his decision to exercise the clause in his deal to walk out of the club for free.

But Barcelona have maintained throughout that it expired on June 10.

Messi's representatives, however, argue that due to the season being extended following the coronavirus lockdown, that an extension should be granted.

LaLiga's statement, however, vehemently denies such a right.

The situation could be set to rumble on and on – as Messi snubbed the club's Covid-19 testing this morning.

Barcelona's first-team squad, including fellow angered star Luis Suarez, arrived for testing ahead of pre-season.

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But Messi was not among them.

This means that the six-time Ballon d'Or winner will not be eligible to take part in Ronald Koeman's first training session tomorrow.

Fans have taken to Camp Nou to protest against the club's ownership in the wake of Messi's decision to leave.

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But it would appear that the man himself wants to reunite with former boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

According to L'Equipe, PSG director Leonardo contacted Messi's father, Jorge, to try and sort out a deal – only to be told that he has chosen City.

And Mundo Deportivo's Francesc Aguilar reported earlier this week that City supremo Ferran Soriano has reassured the Messi camp that they CAN afford a deal – even if the clause was rejected, as has been the case.

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