On Thursday, FC Barcelona, the Spanish top-flight football club holding 26 domestic La Liga titles, had issued a statement saying that the five-time UEFA Champions League winner would have to part ways with the Argentine striker Lionel Messi, 34, after 21 long years despite reaching an accord over a five-year new contract, as the Spanish football giant had been grappling with a clutch of economic and structural obstacles to finance the new contract.
Besides, the FC Barcelona statement added that the top-tier Spanish football club, 31-times winner of Spanish domestic club cup competition Copa del Rey, had always wanted Messi to stay with the club, however, the soccer legend had been free to negotiate as a free agent with other clubs as his current contract had run out at the end of June.
On top of that, the media headline of Messi’s departure had been brought into being a day after La Liga had reached an accord to divest about 10 per cent stakes in a new entity that would manage most of its businesses, to a Luxembourg-based private equity firm CVC Capital at a $3.2 billion deal, which La Liga giant Real Madrid had branded as an illicit agreement.
Barca star Messi to depart as a free agent
Apart from that, Barcelona had long been vying to vent out a way to downsize its players’ salaries in a bid to comply with the La Liga’s players’ wages limits, while the towering and titanic Spanish football behemoth had also tried to sell off a number of players to downsize wage bills including a swap deal with Athletico Madrid for Antonio Griezmann.
However, citing fiscal obstacles, Barca said in the statement, “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 (Spanish La Liga regulations).
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”.
Lionel Messi, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and the most by any soccer player so far, who had joined Barca as an academy player at the age of 13, has been the club’s leading goal scorer with 672 goals in 778 appearances.