Lionel Messi will not be renewing his contract at Barcelona after he turned a free agent in the summer, the club said in a 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),” Barcelona said.
Adding that, “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 aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.”
LATEST NEWS | Leo #Messi will not continue with FC Barcelona
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 5, 2021
Lionel Messi is considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards, a record six European Golden Shoes, and in 2020 was named to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team.
He has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he has won a club-record 34 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles and four UEFA Champions Leagues.
A prolific goalscorer and creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga (474), a La Liga and European league season (50), most hat-tricks in La Liga (36) and the UEFA Champions League (8), and most assists in La Liga (192), a La Liga and European league season (21) and the Copa América (17).
He has scored over 750 senior career goals for club and country, and has the most goals ever by a player for a single club.
Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi relocated to Spain to join Barcelona at age 13, for whom he made his competitive debut aged 17 in October 2004.
He established himself as an integral player for the club within the next three years, and in his first uninterrupted season in 2008–09 he helped Barcelona achieve the first treble in Spanish football; that year, aged 22, Messi won his first Ballon d’Or.