'Broke the internet': Sports world goes bonkers over Lionel Messi bombshell

Lionel Messi holding a Chicago Bulls jersey (pictured left) and wearing a Honda race team tracksuit (pictured right).

The sports world isn’t quite yet done coming to terms that Lionel Messi has demanded to leave Barcelona by activating a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old has sent a fax to Barcelona communicating his intention to leave behind the club he's played at for 20 years.

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Arguably the greatest ever footballer, Messi has become synonymous with the Barcelona jersey and many thought he would retire at his boyhood club.

But after prominent journalists reported Messi had told the club he wanted to leave, it sent Twitter into meltdown with the gravitas of the situation.

While many were startled at the enormity of the news, others were wondering who could possibly sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

While fans and even rival codes jumped in on the act and showed their humour at signing the legendary footballer.

This included NBA team the Chicago Bulls, the Spurs but also unwillingly, and racing team Honda.

While it is fair to say this transfer saga is far from over and there is no guarantee Messi will leave the Camp Nou, it could just be the biggest transfer across any sport of all time.

Messi will push for Barcelona exit

Although the forward’s contract is set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season, Messi and his legal team believe the clause will allow him to terminate his deal unilaterally.

Messi has a 700-million-euro ($A1.1 billion) release clause in his contract but had a written agreement that he could leave for free if he notified the club of his desire before June 10.

Barcelona chiefs will insist the deadline has now passed, with Messi's team arguing that it should be extended due to the longer-than-usual season, which ran until August because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It's set to usher a fierce legal battle between player and club, with Messi's signature undoubtedly one of the hottest propositions in world football for clubs waiting on the outcome.

Rumours of Messi's unhappiness have been swirling since Bayern Munich humiliated Barcelona 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-final earlier in August, ending a season that saw the club fail to win any trophies.