LIONEL MESSI has been accused of lacking respect for Barcelona by a presidential candidate who would not mind if the club legend left.
Messi shocked Barca bosses on Tuesday after telling them he wants to exercise a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave for free with immediate effect.
The possibility of the Argentine great leaving after 16 years has mounted immense pressure on club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Bartomeu has faced calls to step down by Barca fans, and Toni Freixa, a former Nou Camp director, is a replacement candidate.
But he has already risked the wrath of supporters by insisting he would not be fazed by Messi’s departure and slammed the forward’s attitude.
He told Radio Marca: “I am not overly concerned about Messi leaving because everything has an end.
“What is important is that he did it in such an unfortunate way and without respecting the club.”
Messi and Barca seem set for a legal battle over the player’s contract stipulation, which the club believe expired on June 10.
The Argentine superstar is under contract until the summer of 2021 and the Spanish giants claim his €700m (£629m) buy-out clause is still valid.
Freixa has sensationally called for Messi – who has an estimated net worth of £300m – to personally pay out his release clause to force through a move away.
He said: “I am surprised and disappointed as a Barcelona man.
“I am disappointed by what Messi has done.
“The contracts are to be fulfilled and what Messi has to do is come with €700m and leave.”