Football legend Lionel Messi will not continue in Barcelona, officially confirmed. Messi will leave Barcelona despite both parties reaching an agreement over a new contract, the La Liga club said on Thursday, citing economic and structural obstacles to the renewal of the deal.
The forward, who has spent his whole career there, had been expected to re-sign after his deal expired in June. Messi and his father reportedly failed to reach an agreement with Barcelona President Juan Laporta then. They decided not to extend the contract further anymore.
“Although an agreement has been reached between FC Barcelona and for Messi it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles,” said a statement from the club.
“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.”
The reports that came in June indicated that Messi would continue to work with the club and would extend his contract. There were reports that the player has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the club. It was later revealed that the player had signed a five-year deal with the club and there would be an official response soon. The new revelation now reverses all this.
Barcelona needed to move players out to renew Messi’s deal and they have not been able to find the solution. The club, whose total debt is about €1,173m, are constrained by the league’s salary cap. Messi has agreed to a 50% pay cut, dropping from about €45m basic, after tax, to closer to €20m.
However, Argentinian made no immediate public statement on this. Messi, who joined Barca’s youth set-up aged 13, is the club’s all-time top scorer with 672 in a record 778 appearances.
The Argentinian has been named the world’s best player a record six times.
Messi had tried to leave Barcelona in August 2020, making a formal request for an exit after a breakdown in his relationship with then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
But his successor Joan Laporta, who presided over the Argentinian’s rise to stardom, convinced him to stay.
It was unclear whether Messi was already in talks with other clubs. He has previously been linked with cash-rich Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
In the recently completed Copa America match, Argentina with the star shining Messi could prove their strength. They won the trophy against the all-time opposition team Brazil.