It’s over. Lionel Messi will no longer continue at Barcelona and will leave the club for pastures new according to a statement released by the Catalan giants on Thursday evening. Barcelona revealed that they reached an agreement with the Argentine to renew his expired contract, but that it couldn’t be confirmed due to economic and structural obstacles laid down by La Liga.
Faced with this situation, Messi will leave the club he joined as a pimply-faced teenager. Both parties, according to the statement, deeply regret the situation and the fact that the wishes of neither the club nor the player could be fulfilled. Barcelona thanked Messi in their statement for his contribution to the growth of the club and wished him the best in his personal and professional life.
Messi is regarded by many as the greatest footballer to have ever played the sport, and lifted four Champions Leagues with Barcelona. He led Argentina to the Copa America this summer, their first title since 1993, and had been relaxing on vacation with his wife and children, in great form. Nobody saw this coming; all reports up to this evening believed a renewal was imminent.