Spanish giants Barcelona say star forward, Lionel Messi will not be staying at the club “because of financial and structural obstacles”.
The 34-year-old has been a free agent since 1 July when his contract expired, and his departure will be ending a 21-year stay at Camp Nou.
Recall that Messi agreed a new deal on reduced wages with Barca two weeks after the contract expired, but it was dependent on Barca selling some players to afford his salary.
“Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled,” the club said in a statement on Thursday evening.
Messi had reached an agreement to stay with the Catalan side until 2026 – but La Liga said the club must reduce wages before he and any new players can be registered.
“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 La Liga regulations],” the club said.
“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 is Barcelona’s record scorer with 672 goals and has won 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and seven Copa del Reys, as well as claiming the Ballon d’Or on a record six occasions.
The Argentine arguably now becomes the most in-demand player in world football, but has long been linked with a move to either Paris St-Germain or Manchester City.
There is also a likelihood of Messi moving to the United States’ Major League Soccer.
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