FC Barcelona issued a statement on Thursday evening, announcing the failure of the club to reach an agreement with club captain and legend Lionel Messi on a new contract following the expiry of the Argentine superstar’s contract with the club.
In the official statement by the club on its social media handles, it 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.”
Messi had reportedly agreed to a 5-year deal at 50% of his previous wages with an option to terminate the contract after the third year, and his wages suspended till when the club attains a better financial status before his contract runs out. He was scheduled to appear in Barcelona colours at the Joan Gamper trophy on August 8th and duly returned to Spain from Miami, jetting out to Ibiza to meet up with ex-teammates Luis Suarez, Neymar and PSG trio of Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria and Marco Verratti.
Messi appeared 778 times for Barcelona, scoring 672 goals and 305 assists. He also won 35 major trophies in his time with the Catalan club, winning the Ballon d’Or six times. He is the highest goalscorer in the history of the club and holds the appearance record at the club.