FC Barcelona has officially announced that Lionel Messi will be leaving the club.
After a summer of negotiations that did not go well, the club said they reached a point where it became clear that the deal will not be finalised.
The 34-year-old star had been expected to sign a new five-year contract with his wages to be slashed by 50 per cent but that did not come to fruition and he became a free agent.
In a statement, the club said: “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.
“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.”
Messi joined the Barcelona in 2001 at age of 13 and has contributed immensely to its success.