After somewhat surprising reports claimed Lionel Messi has a special clause in his contract that cast his future at FC Barcelona in doubt, Gerard Pique has now confirmed he is aware of the exit clause.
Cadena SER recently reported that Messi's latest contract extension included a clause that would allow him to leave the Blaugrana for free, on the condition he warns the club before the end of May of the year in question.
This news has sent shockwaves through the Catalan giants' fan base, who now fear the club captain could join any European rival on a free deal at the end of the current campaign.
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While many initially believed Cadena SER's report to be false, Messi's teammate Pique has now confirmed he is aware of the clause, and insisted the Argentine has earned the right to leave the Camp Nou at his own discretion.
"I already knew Messi is able to leave for free at the end of each season," Pique told Cadena SER, as cited by ESPN.
"But we all know the commitment Leo has to Barca, and it doesn't worry me at all.
"He's earned the right to be able to choose what he does with his future after everything he's given the club."
Messi's current deal expires on 30 June 2021, but, according to Cadena SER, Barcelona are keen to extend his deal by 10 years, with the player taking up a staff role once he decides to hang up his boots.
Do you think Messi's surprising exit clause could be the reason Barca so desperately wanted to sign Neymar in the latest transfer window? Have your say in the comments section below.