Barca icon Lionel Messi opts to leave Catalan giants after being told by Koeman that his 'privileges were over'

CC™ Breaking News

Lionel Messi finally decided to leave Barcelona after the club's new coach, Ronald Koeman, told him his "privileges in the squad are over."

Messi and Koeman met shortly after the Dutchman's appointment last week amid rumors the Argentine wanted to leave the club following its 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. 

During the meeting, Messi is understood to have told Koeman that he "does not see his future at Barcelona clearly" and that he was leaning towards leaving rather than staying.

Argentine news outlet Diario Ole now reports that Koeman told Messi: "Your privileges in the squad are over, you have to do everything for the team. I'm going to be inflexible, you have to think about the team."

It is not known exactly what the "privileges" Messi previously received are, although he has previously had a significant amount of influence on the club.

The exchange is believed to be what convinced Messi his time at Barcelona is up, with the Argentine notifying the club of his intention to leave on Tuesday.

The Association Press says Barcelona has confirmed that it received documentation from the 33-year-old saying that he intends to quit.

The move, a shock for the footballing world, is likely to incite a legal battle between Messi's representatives and the club, with Messi's camp believing a clause in his contract will allow him to leave the club for free.

Barcelona, however, believe that the clause expired in June, meaning interested parties would be forced to pay closer to his buy-out clause of $825 million.

Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City are believed to be the frontrunners for Messi's signature.