Messi to leave Barcelona

Barcelona's talismanic footballer Lionel Messi will not continue with the club next season, drawing an end to an extraordinary 17-year career.

Lionel Messi will leave the Spanish giant as its most prolific goal-scorer while topping the charts in La Liga over a 17-year career.   -  GETTY IMAGES

In a shocking revelation on Thursday night, Barcelona announced club legend Lionel Messi will not continue with the Spanish giant.

"Despite having reached an agreement between Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it will not be possible to formalize due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations)," the official statement read.

"Faced with this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue to be linked to Barcelona. The two parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the Club cannot finally be fulfilled. Barca wants to thank with all the heart the player's contribution to the aggrandizement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life".

Messi, whose Barcelona contract contract expired at the end of June and was slated as a free agent, was expected to sign a fresh five year deal with Barca ahead of the upcoming La Liga season.

 

Messi had tried to leave Barcelona in August 2020, making a formal request for an exit after a break down in his relationship with then president Josep Maria Bartomeu but successor Joan Laporta, who presided over the Argentine's rise to greatness, convinced him to stay.

Messi, who joined Barca's youth set up aged 13, is the club's all-time top scorer and appearance maker with 672 goals in 778 games in all competitions.

Manchester City and Paris-Saint-Germain could be prospective suitors, where he could either link up with former boss Pep Guardiola at City or former teammate and friend Neymar at PSG.

With inputs from Reuters

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