Lionel Messi did not attend a pre-season medical with FC Barcelona on Sunday, a Barca club source has confirmed
This is the latest development following his shock announcement on Tuesday that he wants to leave the club.
Reuters footage showed players arriving for coronavirus tests on Sunday morning and Messi did not appear.
He had been due at FC Barcelona’s training ground at 10:15 a.m local time.
Players had been given staggered appointments throughout the morning until midday.
Media reports on Saturday said Argentine Messi would not undergo a pre-season medical or attend training on Monday.
The 33-year-old six-times world player of the year informed his lifelong club on Tuesday he wished to leave immediately.
His request plunged Barca into new turmoil less than two weeks after their humiliating 8-2 UEFA Champions League quarter-final defeat by Bayern Munich.
Messi’s lawyers plan to invoke a clause in his four-year contract, signed in 2017.
The clause in the contract which expires in 2021 would have allowed the forward to leave the club for free if he had requested it by June 10.
They will argue that that date —- nominally the end of the season —- is now irrelevant after the coronavirus delays which led to the season’s extension and the team playing deep into August.
Under the terms of the contract, the only way Messi can leave without the club’s consent is if another club pays his release clause of 700 million euros (833 million dollars).