Barcelona’s technical director responds to Lionel Messi transfer request

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Barcelona’s new technical director Ramon Planes insists the club want to keep Lionel Messi after the Argentine handed in a transfer request.

Messi informed Barcelona’s hierarchy of his decision via burofax on Tuesday evening and is now pushing to leave Camp Nou on a free transfer due to a clause in his contract.

However, Barcelona are aware that the clause which allows Messi to leave for free expired on June 10 and the club believe they are now able to hold out until their captain’s €700 million (£629m) buyout fee is met.

Messi is arguing that the clause remains active as the coronavirus pandemic halted Barcelona’s season and the club’s campaign did not end until their 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on August 14.

Manchester City are believed to be leading the race to sign Messi, with reports claiming that the 33-year-old has already held talks with Pep Guardiola and is keen on the prospect of being reunited with his former manager.

On Wednesday, Barcelona unveiled their new signing Francisco Trincao and at the presentation for the 20-year-old Portuguese forward, Planes responded to Messi’s push to leave Camp Nou and denied reports which claim that the forward will refuse to report for pre-season training.

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‘It was very important news, we have always said that we want to build the new Barcelona around Messi, the best player in history,’ said Planes, who replaced Eric Abidal as technical director last week.

‘We can’t have a public dispute between Barcelona and Messi because neither side deserves that.

‘Messi has not told us that he’s not going to show up for training.

‘We do not contemplate any contractual exit, because we want Messi to stay.

‘Internally we have been working for long hours to find the best solution for the club and for Leo.

‘Anyone that understands a little bit about football wants to have Leo in their team. It is an immense pleasure to see a player like him. He is a winner, Barcelona are winners and we want to get back to winning.’

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