Lionel Messi (34) will leave FC Barcelona after failing to reach an agreement on a contract extension with the club. The information was confirmed by the club through an official statement.

Leo Messi leaves Barcelona
Leo Messi will leave FC Barcelona after 21 years at the club. (Image: Twitter/MirrorFootball)

Less than two days after it was reported that Messi’s new contract was a done deal and that he would stay with the club until 2026, things took a major turn. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was willing to take a massive 50% pay cut to continue his life at Barcelona, it was reported.

But talks between Messi’s father/agent Jorge and FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta took a U-turn on Thursday. Catalonian paper Sport wrote about a “conflict point” being reached during the meeting. Marca and Sport both put out stories saying Messi was “further than ever” from signing a contract extension.

Less than two hours after the story regarding the impasse became public, Barcelona confirmed Messi’s contract won’t be renewed.

What blocked the new Messi deal?

Through their official statement, FC Barcelona claimed an agreement was in place between the club and Messi before “financial and structural obstacles” made the renewal impossible.

“Despite club and player reaching an agreement and their clear intention to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles,” Barcelona’s statement reads. “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,” the three-paragraph statement continues.

Barca’s statement went on to express gratitude to Messi for his contributions to the club, and to wish him “all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.”

Messi scored 672 goals in 778 games in the Barcelona shirt, while also assisting 268 times. He spent 17 years as a member of Barca’s first team.

Where next for Messi?

Messi asked to leave Barca as a free agent last year through an official letter sent to the club’s then-president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who blocked his request. To avoid a long negotiation, Messi agreed to continue with the club and to extend his deal once Barca changed its strategy with the election of Joan Laporta as its new president in March.

Now that Messi’s contract extension is off, Manchester City and PSG are two favorites to obtain his services moving forward. Messi’s longstanding relationship with Pep Guardiola could be a key to direct him toward City, but a reunion with his great friend Neymar at PSG can’t be ruled out.

Bookies see PSG as the favorite to land him. The French giants are at -110 to sign Messi, with City now at +400 and a shock transfer to the MLS at +1400.

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