Lionel Messi has brought to an end a glittering career at Barcelona, with the club announcing his departure on Thursday evening.
The Argentine’s contract at the Camp Nou expired at the end of the 2020/21 season, with the Catalan giants since trying to find a resolution.
However, due to their huge financial problems, that has not been possible and the club confirmed Messi’s departure with a short statement.
It read: “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 formalised due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish La Liga 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.”
The simple fact of Messi’s departure remains hugely down to Barcelona’s financial woes. They are reportedly £1.2billion in debt, whilst La Liga rules stipulate that the club’s wage limit can only be €382.7million (£325.2million), an aspect that is simply not possible with Messi’s lofty wages.
The failure to agree a new, reduced deal has seen the Argentine depart and means that he is now available on a free transfer.
However, his value is considerably more than that. As per transfermarkt, the 34-year-old is valued at £72million.
Interestingly enough, should a club have paid that fee, that would only make Messi the joint-seventh most expensive transfer in British football history.
He would join the likes of Chelsea’s Kai Havertz and Kepa Arrizabalaga on the same amount, whilst that fee also took Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal.