Barcelona have announced Lionel Messi will be leaving this summer after “financial and structural obstacles” meant the club were unable to conclude a new deal with the Argentine star.
An official announcement of a new contract with the Barca icon had been expected imminently, until Spanish media reported on Thursday that negotiations were “at the point of no return” in a shock new development.
And so that proved, as a bombshell statement from the club 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 aggrandizement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.”
LATEST NEWS | Leo #Messi will not continue with FC Barcelona
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 5, 2021
With Messi landing back in his adopted city last night after a summer break following his exertions with Argentina at the Copa American, it was widely expected that he would agree fresh terms with a fanfare announcement expected from Barca.
Everything seemed to be going well when his father and agent Jorge met Blaugrana officials for lunch, and even when sports outlet MARCA claimed that talks had hit a brick wall and that the 34-year-old was “more out” of the club than in, many claimed that the reports were nothing more than a Madrid-based publication attempting to rock the boat.
In quick succession, however, Catalan radio station RAC1 validated the rumors and added further context.
They said that Messi “does not like the current squad” and had told top brass as much.
Then, around an hour and a half later, Barca made the parting of ways between themselves and their greatest ever player apparently official in their statement.
However, Barcelona fans are still clinging to the hope that the situation can somehow be resolved, and that the announcement is merely intended as brinkmanship to ensure La Liga bosses soften their financial regulations to allow the league to keep its most prized asset.
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