Barcelona have confirmed Lionel Messi has left the club, ending his historic tenure at the Nou Camp. Messi had agreed to a new contract with the club, but a statement confirmed it could not be formalised.
Messi, who won six Ballon d’Or awards during his time at the Nou Camp, is widely regarded as one of the best players ever.
It was widely believed that he would see out the remainder of his career at Barca – but for a possible stint in America in his later years.
But now, he has walked out for free at the age of 34 after failing to reach an agreement with the club over his new contract.
Messi has been locked in negotiations over a new deal for some time now, despite his public desire to leave 12 months ago.
But the club’s catestrophic financial situation has meant they were unable to register him as a player, leading to an impasse.
That impasse has now seen Barca lose arguably their greatest-ever player.
Despite the fact Messi is Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer, assist provider and appearance maker – not to mention the amount of trophies he’s won the club – their statement was relatively short and to the point.
Shortly after news of Messi’s possible exit surfaced on social media, Barca confirmed the news with a brief statement on their website.
The bulk of that statement, however, focused on the fact that the issue had been taken out of their hands, rather than thanking the player for his time at the club.
Only later in the statement, in the final line, did Barca acknowledge Messi and thank him for his efforts on the pitch.
Here’s Barca’s statement in full.
“Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations) .
“Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona.
“Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the Club cannot finally be fulfilled.
“Barça would like to thank with all its heart the player’s contribution to the enhancement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life.”