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Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona he wants to leave the Catalan club after spending close to 20-years with the Spanish giants.

Barcelona even confirmed to the Associated Press that Messi sent a document expressing his desire to exit the club.

The announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona were thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals. This was one of the worst defeats in the player’s career and in the club’s history. The defeat rounded-off a disappointing season for Barcelona – the first without a trophy since 2007-08.

Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards and has helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions Leagues.

Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol reacted to the news that Messi wants to leave, tweeting: “Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend.”

Last week, Barcelona’s new head coach Ronald Koeman said he wants Messi to remain at the club.

Koeman said: “I don’t know if I have to convince Messi (to stay). Of course, he is the best player in the world and you want the best player in the world in your team – you don’t want him playing against you.

“For me as a coach, I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches. If he is at the ability and the level he has always shown, I would be more than happy for him to stay.”

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