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Lionel Messi formally asks to leave Barcelona

Lionel Messi formally asks to leave Barcelona
© Reuters
Barcelona talisman and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi reportedly asks to leave the club this summer.

Barcelona talisman and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi has reportedly asked to leave the club this summer.

Speculation over the 33-year-old's future has raged since their humiliating 8-2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich earlier this month.

However, the club has now confirmed to The Associated Press that their all-time record goalscorer has submitted a formal request to leave.

The document sent by Messi to the Catalan giants cites a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave for free this summer, although Barcelona claim that that clause expired in June.

The club are now reportedly seeking legal advice over the situation.

Messi has spent his entire career at Barcelona, helping the club to 33 trophies including 10 La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.

The Argentine has won a record six Ballons d'Or and has scored an unparalleled 634 goals in 731 games for the club, in addition to registering 285 assists.

However, Barcelona have endured a torrid campaign with problems on and off the pitch, ending the season trophyless for the first time since 2007-08.

New Barca boss Ronald Koeman last week stated his intention to work with Messi, while club president Josep Maria Bartomeu expressed his belief that Messi would finish his career at Camp Nou.

However, the forward - widely regarded as one of the greatest players in history - now looks more likely than ever before to leave his solitary professional club.

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