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12 January 2018, 08:58 | Charlene Valdez
Barcelona superstar and five-time Ballon d'Or victor Lionel Messi could be able to leave the club on a free transfer thanks to a shocking clause in his contract.
Lionel Messi has returned to Barcelona after spending the Christmas and New Year period back in his native Argentina. The contract keeps him at Camp Nou for the next four seasons, and can be extended an additional season.
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".
The political crisis triggered by Catalonia's independence drive remains unresolved after separatists won a slim parliamentary majority in a regional election last month.
Barcelona restored their lead at the top of La Liga standings to nine points after Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez each scored in a routine if underwhelming 3-0 win at home to struggling Levante on Sunday, with Paulinho increasing their lead in added time.
The Spanish Football Federation President, Javier Tebas, has revealed earlier that Catalonian clubs, including Barcelona, will not continue competing in the Spanish League if Catalonia gains its independence from Spain, according to Marca.
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.
Messi was snapped with his two sons and wife Antonella Roccuzzo, who donned a bright pink Playboy jumper, as they arrived at the Barcelona-El Prat Airport. "If we're able to leave with a good result, it will help alleviate many things". Barcelona said Coutinho has yet to meet with his new teammates and coach, although he did make an appearance at the stadium for a photo session after Sunday's match.
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