FC Barcelona may lose superstar player Lionel Messi, if Catalonia successfully secedes from Spain.

The 5-time Ballon d’Or winner reportedly has a clause in his contract that makes him a free agent if Barcelona are not competing in a top-level European league.

The clause was included in the new contract which Messi signed in November. A Barça spokesman said: “In the interests of confidentiality the club never comments on contracts signed with players and never will.”

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The president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, has repeatedly said Barcelona would be booted out of the Spanish league along with all other Catalan clubs in the event of secession, as only teams from Spain and Andorra are entitled to compete in the Spanish leagues.

Barça, who have won 24 Liga titles and lead this season’s standings by nine points, said after the referendum they would not speculate on the future.

However, they were “not planning for any other scenario than playing in the Spanish league. The club is competing in this competition and wants to win it”.