Lionel Messi will not be playing in the Barcelona colours from the next season onwards after the club announced the same in an official statement on Thursday. “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)," the club’s statement read.
“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," it added.
Messi and Barcelona were expected to announce the agreement on Thursday but instead the club released the statement that Messi is leaving Barcelona.
“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," the statement concluded.
It is now over a month since Messi’s contract with Barca expired and the striker, who is currently on holiday in Ibiza, could in theory move elsewhere as the club and his agents try to resolve a new contract with less than two weeks before the start of the new season.
Earlier, it was reported by Catalan sports daily L’Esportiu that Messi “will sign a five-season contract with a release clause of 600 million euros ($709 million)."
Marca confirmed the report saying, “The player will reduce his wage by 50 percent. Now it just remains for the lawyers to look over the agreement and give it the OK. Once that happens (his) continuation will be official."
According to Marca, Messi, 34, was to earn in the region of 20 million euros basic next season with the Catalan club, which he has led to ten league crowns as well as four Champions Leagues.
Last summer Messi sought to leave Barca as a free agent via a clause in his contract before agreeing to see out the final year as the club threatened to go to court.
Earlier, Barcelona president Juan Laporte had said that the club’s attempts to offer Messi a new contract were being held up because of La Liga’s financial control measures. La Liga introduced financial control measures in 2013 establishing a maximum amount of money each club can spend on its playing squad and coaching staff each season, conditioned by their income.
Barca have the highest revenues in world soccer according to this year’s Deloitte Money League, although income dropped by 125 million euros last year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
(With inputs from Agencies)