Argentinian striker Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona despite both parties having reached an agreement over a replacement contract, the La Liga club said on Thursday, citing economic and structural obstacles to the renewal of deal.
“Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and therefore the clear intention of both parties to sign a replacement contract today, this cannot happen due to financial and structural obstacles (Spanish La Liga regulations),” Barca said during a statement.
“As a results of this example , Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the needs of the player and therefore 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 needs him all the absolute best for the longer term in his personal and business life .”
Messi was liberal to negotiate a transfer with other clubs after his deal ran out at the top of June, but Barcelona had always maintained he wanted to remain with the club. The 34-year-old was reported to sign a replacement five-year deal.
Messi had tried to go away Barcelona in August last year, making a proper request for an exit after a breakdown in his relationship with then president Josep Maria Bartomeu, but successor Joan Laporta, who presided over the Argentine’s rise to greatness, persuaded him to remain .
Messi, who joined Barca’s youth set-up aged 13, is that the club’s all-time top scorer and appearance maker with 672 goals in 778 games altogether competitions.