OFFICIAL: Barcelona confirm Messi will leave club

Stefan Bienkowski
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi

Barcelona have confirmed that the club will not be able to offer Lionel Messi a new contract due to “economic and structural obstacles”.

The Argentina international was due to sign a new deal with the Catalan club this week, but reports on Thursday began to suggest that Messi was far from happy with the new terms he was offered.

Shortly after numerous outlets reported that the player and his representatives had turned their back on contract negotiations, the club confirmed that they were now powerless to offer Messi the deal he desired.

In a club statement, Barcelona indicated that league financial restrictions and economic obstacles were to blame for the club not being able to keep Messi at the club.

"Despite an agreement having been reached between 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 LaLiga regulations).

"In view of this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue to be linked to Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that in the end it will not be possible to fulfil the wishes of both the player and the Club.

"Barca would like to thank the player for his contribution to the institution and wishes him all the best in his personal and professional life."

Why is Messi leaving Barcelona?

Over the course of the last two or three seasons, Barcelona have been forced to tighten their belt and begin reducing their expenses due to the debt the club has amassed since 2015.

As a result, the standard of the club's first team squad has dropped considerably and that has impacted on Messi's desire to stay at the club.

The Argentina international tried to force a move away from the Catalan giants last summer, but was held up by a clause in his contract. As such, Messi was forced to stay put for the 2020/21 season.

Over the course of the campaign some progress was made under new manager Ronald Koeman and there was a belief that Messi would agree to a new deal this summer.

However, it now seems as though the player is far from content with the standard of the squad and the terms he was offered by the troubled club.

Messi has been linked with a move to PSG to play alongside Neymar

Messi has been linked with a move to PSG to play alongside Neymar

Who could sign Messi now?

If Messi has finally drawn a line under Barcelona’s attempts to sign him up to a new club, it means the 34-year-old star may now begin looking for a new club.

Manchester City were previously considered favourites to sign the Argentine forward, but are now on the cusp of completing a £100 million move for Jack Grealish and would unlikely be able to bring Messi to the club as well.

However, despite signing Achraf Hakimi for a considerable fee, Paris Saint-Germain may still have the funds and sporting ambition to convince Messi to make the move north to French football.