Messi could leave for FREE if Catalonia gain independence and Barcelona lose spot in La Liga

Despite signing a new deal at Barcelona and penning the most lucrative contract in world football, Lionel Messi could sensationally leave the Spanish giants for free... should Catalonia succeed in its bid for independence.

The autonomous region made international headlines last year after hosting its own unofficial referendum and bidding to force through a move to establish independence from Spain.

Catalans saw heavy police intervention as a result, as the state sought to intervene on what it deemed to be an illegal act. As the story rumbles on however, the implications on the football landscape have now emerged.