Lionel Messi is to part ways with Barcelona, the Spanish giants have confirmed. Both player and club had agreed to a five-year contract extension but La Liga’s salary cap rules mean that agreement cannot be met. Messi’s old contract expired earlier this summer.
“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),” Barcelona said in a statement.
“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.”
Paris Saint-Germain have made direct contact to Messi’s camp, according to Fabrizio Romano.
This is the latest chapter in a saga that began a year ago when Messi first revealed he wanted to leave the only club he’d ever played for. Although he ultimately relented on taking Barcelona to court in order to get out of the last year of his contract, he contractual situation was never fully settled. Although it seemed as though the election of Joan Laporta to return to Barcelona as president made it likely Messi would stay, the details were never completely ironed out and now, it seems, La Liga rules continue to stand in the way.
PSG already in direct contact
Here’s the latest from our very own Fabrizio Romano on the Messi saga, who says Messi and Barcelona camps were in agreement on the departure and scheduled Thursday’s announcement. Additionally, The club reached out to Messi to inform him that they were unable to sign him to a new contract given their financial restrictions from La Liga’s new CVC cash infusion. There were also issues involving selling other players. All of which, according to Romano, Messi appreciated Joan Laporta’s honesty and two sides do not hold any tension over the departure.
What’s more is that the Argentine has already been in contact with Paris Saint-Germain, who immediately reached out after it was announced that he was leaving Barcelona, according to Romano. The French club sought out the 34-year-old Messi on Thursday after expressing their interest in his services earlier this year. It’s worth noting that Messi spent some portion of his vacation a few days ago in Ibiza with his old Barca buddy Neymar and Euro winner Marco Verratti and Copa America winners Ángel Di María and Leandro Paredes. Are the PSG players working behind the scenes to make this happen?
Barca fans take to the street
So how are Barcelona supporters taking the news of Lionel Messi leaving the club after spending 21 years in Spain? Not kindly. Club supporters gathered in front of the entrance of Camp Nou stadium Thursday to voice their concern. The Argentina superstar and the club failed to come to terms on a new deal in part because of La Liga’s new financial regulation. The Spanish giants made the announcement pretty late in the day, so you have to imagine we’ll start to see more people trickle in near the club headquarters in the morning when club president Joan Laporta is set to speak to the press.