Lionel Messi has previously labelled Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys as his dream transfer destination should he exit Barcelona.
That eventuality came to fruition on Thursday night, with the Catalan giants confirming that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner was not set to return to the Camp Nou following a failure to agree a new contract.
His previous deal expired at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season. Barcelona confirmed Messi’s departure with a short statement on Thursday evening.
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.”
Following the confirmation of his exit from the Catalan giants after a glittering 17-year career after his debut, the rumour mill went into overdrive regarding his next destination.
Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea have all been linked in the past. However, judging from Messi’s previous comments, there is a clear favourite for his next club as he eyes a return to his homeland with Newell’s Old Boys.
Speaking in a 2017 interview with Ole, he said: “I still have to play in Newell’s and that is my dream.
“But, as I was saying recently, I do not know what will happen a few years from now or how I will be to come back.
“I would love it and I always said it but I hope I can continue at this level to get back to Newell’s because it’s what I dreamed since I was little.”
Chelsea fans have already been appealing to Marina Granovskaia and Roman Abramovich to make an attempt for his signature.