'FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the club through the 2020/21 season,' read a club statement. Photograph:( Others )
A clause in Lionel Messi's contract has ensured that he could become a free agent if Barcelona no longer plays in a major European league as a result of Catalan independence.
According to a report, the contract Messi signed last November includes a clause that he must remain a Barcelona player only as long as the club is playing in "a top-level European league."
A source at Barcelona told AFP that "for reasons of confidentiality the club never comments on contractual relations with players."
Catalonia with the population of 7.5 million and history of over 1000 years old had voted in favour of its exit from Spain.
Catalonian nationalists proclaimed independence from Spain after a referendum on October 1, precipitating a crisis which is still unresolved. More than 90 per cent population had voted for independence.
The Spanish civil and football authorities have said repeatedly that Catalan secession would end the participation of the region's clubs in the Spanish League. After the separation of Catalonia from Spain, the club may shut down.
If Catalonia becomes independent and Barcelona are booted out of La Liga and cannot persuade another major league (France, Italy, Germany or England) to give them a home, Messi could leave without having to pay his 700 million euro ($843 million).
Catalans have everything they need to flourish as an independent nation. A state which has its own police and parliament, amazing infrastructure and rich as well as varied heritage. Almost everything that is necessary for a country to get along with other developing nation.
But, when it comes to football, Catalonia may suffer a lot after its separation from Spain. Likewise whole Europe, Catalans also has undying madness for football. FC Barcelona holds a very important place in Spanish football leagues. Laliga, the most important of the Spanish league, will be incomplete without FC Barcelona.