Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Manu Fernandez/Pool via Getty Images

Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he intends to leave the club immediately, an earth-shattering development that could turn ugly.

Why it matters: Arguably the greatest player in soccer history wants to leave the only club he's ever known — a club he helped transform into one of the most popular and valuable franchises in the world.

The backdrop: The announcement comes just over a week after Barcelona's humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals — a defeat that capped the club's first season without a title since 2007-08.

  • Barcelona has been dealing with off-field dysfunction all year, and the club descended into yet another bout of internal turmoil this past week.
  • Manager Quique Setién and sporting director Eric Abidal both departed, and Ronald Koeman, a former player for the club, was appointed as coach.

Between the lines: Messi intends to activate a clause in his contract that would not allow Barcelona to receive a cent in compensation — evidence of how contentious things have gotten between the two sides.

The big picture: Messi joined Barcelona at 13, when an emissary from Barcelona, sent to watch him play in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina, drew up a contract on a napkin.

  • Over 16 seasons with the senior club, Messi won a record six Ballon d'Or awards and recorded more goals and assists than any player in La Liga history.
  • Barcelona's 34 titles in Messi's 16 seasons are almost double the titles the club won in the 16 seasons prior to his arrival (18).

What to watch: "Manchester City — managed by Messi's old mentor, Pep Guardiola — and PSG, home to his close friend Neymar, would be the likeliest [landing spots], ahead of Chelsea, Manchester United and even Real Madrid," the New York Times notes.

  • "Inter Milan, though less successful in recent years, has maintained a yearslong dialogue with Messi's family, and has long attempted to position itself as his first alternative."

Go deeper

Georgia governor declines Trump's request to help overturn election result

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp pushed back on Saturday after President Trump pressed him to help overturn the state's election results.

Driving the news: Trump asked the Republican governor over the phone Saturday to call a special legislative session aimed at overturning the presidential election results in Georgia, per the Washington Post. Kemp refused.

Philanthropy Deep Dive

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A look at how philanthropy is evolving (and why Dolly Parton deserves a Medal of Freedom).