Lionel Messi plays for Barcelona in pre-season friendly win

Lionel Messi plays for Barcelona in pre-season friendly win
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has spent his entire career with Barcelona

Lionel Messi made his first appearance for Barcelona since his failed attempt to leave the club, playing in their friendly with Gimnastic de Tarragona.

The 33-year-old Argentine submitted a transfer request in August but decided to stay last week because no club would be able to afford his release clause.

Messi started in the 3-1 win over third-tier Nastic after the club confirmed he would remain as captain.

He was replaced along with the other starters at half-time.

Ousmane Dembele opened the scoring with Antoine Griezmann and Phillipe Coutinho netting penalties.

Messi, Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer, believed he had a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave for free and did not begin pre-season training.

Barcelona and La Liga insisted that clause was no longer valid – with any club wishing to buy him required to pay a release clause of 700m euros (£624m) – and Messi returned to training after saying he would not take the club to court.

Barca’s season starts on Sunday, 27 September with a home game against Villarreal in La Liga.

XL subscribe to our newsletter banner

Get the latest news and advice on COVID-19, direct from the experts in your inbox. Join hundreds of thousands who trust experts by subscribing to our newsletter.

Send your news and stories to us or and WhatsApp: +447747873668.

Before you go...

Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.