Barcelona reject idea of release clause in Messi contract

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Lionel Messi has put a condition in his new contract saying that he will leave Barcelona if Catalonia's independence affects the club's situation in the Spanish League and European competitions, according to El Mundo magazine.

Lionel Messi has returned to Barcelona after spending the Christmas and New Year period back in his native Argentina.

A Barca spokesman declined to comment directly on the report but added: "In the interests of confidentiality the club never comment on contracts signed with players and never will".

If Barcelona which falls in the Catalan region is restricted from participating in the La Liga which is the Spanish top flight and is forced to stand out of the English or the French league then any club wanting Messi won't have to pay the clause. Javier Tebas said, at the time, that if Catalonia pushed forward with their desire to be their own independent state, Barcelona would have to find another league to play in.

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After Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made two superb saves, Messi effectively finished the match by dribbling to the endline before squaring a pass for Paulinho to tap in for his seventh goal of the season.

However, boss Valverde may be inclined to rest stars Messi and Suarez with tougher tasks ahead, while Mascherano has not featured for Barcelona since November 4.

The referendum had direct ramifications for Barcelona who, on the day that it was held, chose to play their La Liga game against Las Palmas behind closed doors in response to police violence against would-be voters. "If we're able to leave with a good result, it will help alleviate many things".

Nevertheless, it was back to business on Sunday afternoon when the Blaugrana hosted Levante in La Liga.

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