Barcelona have announced that Lionel Messi is set to depart the club this summer after failing to come to an agreement over a contract extension.
The Argentine superstar’s previous deal at the Camp Nou expired last summer, with the club confirming his departure on Thursday night with a short statement.
It read: “Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalised due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish La Liga regulations) .
“Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the Club cannot finally be fulfilled.
“Barca would like to thank with all its heart the player’s contribution to the enhancement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life.”
The confirmation of his departure brings to an end an utterly glittering career for Messi since his arrival in Spain.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has gone on to make 778 appearances for the club, scoring an astounding 672 goals.
He has been crucial to the Catalan giants lifting a huge collection of silverware in that time, lifting four Champions Leagues, 10 league titles and the Copa del Rey seven times.
Of course, the attention will now turn to Messi’s next destination following his Barcelona exit. Despite being 34 years of age, he has been strongly linked with moves to Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Chelsea.
It remains to be seen whether Thomas Tuchel makes an attempt to sign him this summer with Romelu Lukaku seemingly edging closer to a Stamford Bridge return.