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Messi misses first pre-season training session as Barcelona stand-off continues

Lionel Messi has upped the ante in his bid to leave Barcelona
Lionel Messi has upped the ante in his bid to leave Barcelona Manu Fernandez POOL/AFP/File
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Madrid (AFP)

Lionel Messi boycotted Barcelona's first pre-season training session on Monday, club sources have confirmed to AFP, as the striker upped the stakes in his battle to leave this summer.

After skipping coronavirus tests on Sunday, Messi was absent again from the Ciutat Esportiva, where Ronald Koeman held a session at 5.30pm, his first since being appointed Barca coach.

It appears increasingly likely Messi will try to force a transfer by refusing to play in La Liga next season, which begins on September 12.

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