Lionel Messi will end his 20-year career with Barcelona after the Argentine superstar failed to reach agreement on a new deal with the club, the Spanish giants announced on Thursday.
Thursday’s stunning announcement marked a new turnaround in a long-running saga where Barcelona had appeared certain to keep Messi, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
He had tried to leave last August as a free agent but the expectation was that he would remain with the Spanish giants for another five years, until 2026 when he would be 39.
The 34-year-old signed his first contract with Barcelona in 2000 on a napkin when he was just 13.
However, he had been a free agent since June 30 when his old agreement expired.
Here’s FC Barcelona’s full statement:
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.
Note: This is a developing story...
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