In what came as a shocker to fans all over the world, the Spanish football club Barcelona and Argentinean iconic footballer Lionel Messi are finally parting ways ending Messi’s 20-year stint with the club. 34-year-old Argentinean signed his first contract with Barcelona on tissue paper aged just 13.
In a statement published by the club, it said, “although an agreement has been reached between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi it cannot be formalised due to economic and structural obstacles,” it also added “Faced with this situation, Lionel Messi will not remain linked to Barcelona. Both sides deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the club cannot come true.”
It was just last month only when the six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, finally landed a major international trophy with Argentina when they beat rivals Brazil to win the Copa America.
(Messi after winning Copa America last month)
There have been doubts and speculations about the Messi leaving FC Barcelona since last year in August when he tried to leave citing a clause in his contract and saying the club had had “no project or anything for a long time”. Ultimately it was agreed by both parties to see out the final year as the club threatened to go to court.
With Messi now gone, the Spanish LaLiga has lost star players like Ronaldo, Neymar, Ramos and Messi in a span of just 4 years.
Messi is Barcelona’s all-time highest goal scorer with 672 goals in 788 matches for the club and has been a free agent since June 30 when his old agreement expired.
Messi was free to negotiate a transfer with other clubs after his deal ran out at the end of June, but Barcelona had always maintained he wanted to stay with the club.
There were speculations that he might sign a 2-year contract with Barca and then head to the US’s Major League Soccer. His former Barca teammate and Brazilian friend Neymar Jr. said that he’d love to have him at Paris Saint Germain.
The two big teams, Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain are the two teams likely to sign the football’s modern-day great.