FC Barcelona have confirmed that their biggest star to date, Lionel Messi, has decided to part ways with the club after not agreeing on contract terms.
The footballing legend spent almost 20 years at the club, where he got promoted from the youth club to the senior team within no time.
Messi bagged six Balon d’Or titles, scored 672 goals and won a staggering 34 trophies in his time with Barcelona.
It is unlikely that the Argentinian forward will be given a farewell at Camp Nou since there’s still some time in the next La Liga season to start.
The club has been undergoing financial strains for some while. A reshuffle in the board of directors did not seem to solve the issue as well.
There were rumours circulating in the footballing circle that Barcelona had already cut salaries of many newly-signed players including Sergi Aguero and Memphis Depay.
Messi was scheduled to sign a contract with the Los Blaugranas today, but as the club’s official statements read, “financial and structural obstacles” have forced the talks to break down.
“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 Spanish LaLiga regulation on players’ registration,” the club statement read.
“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.”
Fans on social media suggest that the 34-year-old might end his career with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City since both share a great relationship.
Guardiola has always been open to working together with Messi ever since the forward helped him win six trophies in a calendar year with Barca.
However, the player himself hasn’t yet revealed where he would be seen in action after leaving his boyhood club.
In February, Guardiola opened up about having a Messi-like player in his City. “We don’t have players who can win the game by himself – we don’t have a Messi, a Cristiano, [Kylian] Mbappe or Neymar,” he said.
“I’ll be honest, I would love to have a player who scores every single game four goals and runs like these players run, I would love it.”
In an interview with Spanish television channel La Sexta in 2020, the footballer himself acknowledged the greatness he finds in Guardiola’s style of coaching.
“He (Guardiola) has something special about him. I don’t know,” Messi said.
“He makes you see things in a certain way in terms of how he prepares for games, both defensively and going forward. He could tell you exactly how the match is going and how you have to attack to win.”