Lionel Messi has sensationally walked away from Barcelona this summer and leave the Spanish giants for good, despite being widely expected to remain at the Nou Camp.
Messi became a free agent last month after his original contract with Barca expired, though was set to re-sign with the club following positive initial talks between all parties.
Messi was in line for a fresh long-term deal, albeit on lower pay terms. Now, however, the Catalan giants have confirmed the agreement is dead due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations).
Issuing a shock statement on Thursday evening, Barcelona said: ‘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 formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga 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.’
Earlier in the evening the news had initially been broke via Catalan radio outlet RAC1, who noted that Messi’s situation at Barca had become ‘irreversible’.
He is, it was reported, ‘more out of Barca than ever’ and ‘does not like the current squad’.
The 34-year-old is said to have communicated his opinions to the club on Wednesday upon his return to the city, following an off-season holiday with his wife and children.
Barca had been banking on their talisman and club legend committing the remainder of his career to the Nou Camp, though have been hindered for weeks by their dire financial situation.
The forward was set to take a 50 per cent pay deduction from his previous deal, which was worth in excess of £425million over four years, in order for Barca to be able to re-register him with La Liga.
This would have meant that Messi’s earnings would have been slashed by £250,000 every week on the proposed new five-year contract
Reports in Spain further state that a meeting over food took place on Thursday between Barca’s hierarchy and Messi’s father, along with other representatives.
It is said that this meeting did not reach a positive resolution, and has blown the whole situation wide open.