BARCELONA BOMBSHELL: Spanish giants announce Lionel Messi will LEAVE this summer because of ‘financial obstacles’

Barcelona have announced Lionel Messi will be leaving this summer after “financial and structural obstacles” meant the club were unable to conclude a new deal with the Argentine star.

An official announcement of a new contract with the Barca icon had been expected imminently, until Spanish media reported on Thursday that negotiations were "at the point of no return" in a shock new development. 

And so that proved, as a bombshell statement from the club read: "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 aggrandizement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life."

With Messi landing back in his adopted city last night after a summer break following his exertions with Argentina at the Copa America, it was widely expected that he would agree fresh terms with a fanfare announcement expected from Barca.

Everything seemed to be going well when his father and agent Jorge met Blaugrana officials for lunch, and even when sports outlet MARCA claimed that talks had hit a brick wall and that the 34-year-old was "more out" of the club than in, many claimed that the reports were nothing more than a Madrid-based publication attempting to rock the boat.

In quick succession, however, Catalan radio station RAC1 validated the rumors and added further context.

They said that Messi "does not like the current squad" and had told the Barca top brass as much.

Then, around an hour and a half later, Barca made the parting of ways between themselves and their greatest ever player apparently official in their statement.

However, Barcelona fans are still clinging to the hope that the situation can somehow be resolved, and that the announcement is merely intended as brinkmanship to ensure La Liga bosses soften their financial regulations to allow the league to keep its most prized asset. 

Messi could finally be on his way out of Barcelona. © Reuters

Since joining Barcelona as a youngster, Messi has gone on to become the club's greatest ever player. The Argentine icon has scored a record 672 goals in 778 appearances in Barca colors, helping the Catalan giants to 10 La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League crowns, among a host of other accolades. 

In parallel, Messi has won the Ballon d'Or a record six times and is considered by many to be the greatest ever to play the game. 

This summer's saga comes after Messi attempted to force his way out of the Camp Nou at the end of least season, arguing that a contract clause allowing him to walk away at the end of the campaign was still in force. 

In the end, he backed down to see out the remaining one year on his contract, becoming a free agent at the end of June, although many felt the club would tie him down to a new deal following the return of Joan Laporta as president. 

However, Barca's debts are said to total more than €1 billion ($1.18 billion), meaning they were hamstrung in their attempts to pen a new deal with Messi, even though he had reportedly agreed to a sizeable wage cut. 

Speculation will now turn to whether this really is the end of Messi's time at Barcelona, and if so, where the Argentine icon will head next, with there likely to be interest from cash-rich continental rivals such as Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.    

Post a Comment