The Catalan giants have announced that the Argentina star will leave the club this summer after almost 20 years
For the first time in almost two decades, Barcelona will go into a new season without their superstar and greatest player ever, Lionel Messi, after they confirmed the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is leaving the club.
Messi’s contract had expired at the end of June, but Barcelona had expressed hope that he would sign a new contract.
However, in a shocking statement released on Thursday evening, The Catalan giants revealed Messi would not be returning to the club despite reaching an agreement with him.
A statement on the club website read: Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations).
As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.
FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.
Messi had initially expressed his desire to leave Barcelona last summer, but the club denied his request. Although his contract ran out in the summer, it was believed he would stay.
The Argentina captain was even reportedly willing to take a wage cut. But the latest announcement means fans have now seen the last of Messi in a Barcelona shirt.
It remains to be seen where he’ll play next season, but Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City are likely destinations.