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Barcelona have warned Lionel Messi that he faces a legal battle if he is to force his way out of the club.

On Tuesday, Messi sent a burofax to the Spanish club, confirming his desire to leave.

The 33-year-old asked Barca to activate an exit clause in his contract, which allows him to walk away at the end of any season for free.

However, Barcelona are understood to have replied to his transfer request, by urging him to stay put or the matter would have to be resolved in court.

The club believes Messi is unable to activate the clause after June, while the player feels the season actually ended in August following the COVID-19 break.Barca have set out their legal terms for a situation where Messi refuses to stay and insists he will not leave as a free agent.

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The board are believed to have called an emergency meeting as soon as Messi’s message arrived, while Josep Bartomeu has been asked to step down as president immediately.

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