By Muhammadu Sabiu
In what has been widely tagged as “the end of an era,” Argentina forward Lionel Messi will leave FC Barcelona after a near two-decade stay at the club due to “financial and structural obstacles.”
This was confirmed by the La Liga giant in a statement.
The statement 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.”
The club also expressed their gratefulness to the 4-time Ballon d’Or winner and wished him well in his future professional career.
“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 in his personal and professional life,” Barça said in the statement.
At the age of 13, Messi joined Barcelona’s youth set-up and he is now the club’s all-time top scorer with 672 goals in 778 appearances.
Recall that he had in 2020 made an attempt to vacate Camp Nou after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, but an agreement was later reached, which led to his continued stay at the club.
Messi’s Trophies at Barcelona
Champions Leagues – 4
La Liga titles – 10
Spanish Cups – 7
European Super Cups – 3
Spanish Super Cups – 8
Club World Cups – 3