Barcelona have said that Lionel Messi will be leaving the club, despite agreeing on new terms to remain at the Nou Camp.
Messi's contract expired in the summer, and despite initial concern that he would join a European rival, the matter appeared to have been settled.
However, Barça have been working to reduce their wage bill – an issue that delayed the confirmation that new signings Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay would be able to play this season – and have now cited this as the reason that the Argentinian forward will leave, announcing on its website that "Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona".
The club says that "both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled", but claims that "financial and structural obstacles" set by La Liga are the reason their record appearance holder will leave.
LATEST NEWS | Leo #Messi will not continue with FC BarcelonaAugust 5, 2021
Any potential suitor would now be able to sign Messi on a free transfer, though would expect to pay a substantial salary to the 34-year-old.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.