Lionel Messi will not be renewing his contract with Barcelona due to the club’s financial problems and the obstacles due to La Liga Fair Play rules.

In a shocking bit of development, FC Barcelona have confirmed on their official website that Lionel Messi will not be signing a new contract with the club due to financial complications.

One of the greatest ever to grace the game of football, Messi has spent his entire career at Barcelona. The 34-year-old has carried the team to great success year after year, cementing his status as a club legend and a global icon.

Since making his debut for the Catalan giants in 2004, Messi went on to make a whopping 778 appearances – a club record and is Barcelona’s all-time leading goal-getter as well, with 672 strikes to his name. However, the little magician from Argentina will no longer be strutting his stuff out at Camp Nou.

Messi came to leave Barcelona last summer itself after the debacle against Bayern Munich and his displeasure over how the club was being run. Ultimately, though, he decided to stay and helped the Catalans to another Copa del Rey trophy in 2020/21 while enjoying another brilliant campaign on a personal level.

However, amidst all this, a cloud of uncertainty loomed large over his future as he was in the final phase of his contract, which officially expired on June 30. A free agent ever since, it was widely expected that Messi would sign a renewal once he returned from his successful Copa America campaign with the Argentine national team.

In fact, reports three weeks back even claimed that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner had reached an agreement over a contract that would have seen his wages get halved as Barcelona continued to battle their financial troubles. However, the Catalans’ inability to cut their wage bill down to comply with La Liga’s Fair Play rules have now led to this shocking development.

In an official statement, Barcelona said: “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.”

It remains to be seen where Barcelona go from here, having lost their best player ever. As for Messi, several big clubs across the globe will line up to sign him. Manchester City have always held an interest, but with their investment in Jack Grealish and the pursuit of Harry Kane, they may not go after the 34-year-old. PSG is another club that have made no secret of wanting the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner.

End of an era.

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