Lionel Messi is leaving the Barcelona club. “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 said in a statement. It was reported Messi agreed to a new five-year deal to remain with Barcelona in July, but financial issues with the club prevented that deal from getting done. The cost of the Covid-19 pandemic has severely reduced Barca’s budget for the new campaign. Barcelona have been trying to sell several high earners including Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite. The Spanish league’s financial regulations made it impossible to sign the Argentina star to a new contract. Messi, who made his Barcelona debut in 2004, was the highest paid athlete in sports history.
In Messi’s previous contract, signed in 2017, he reportedly earned 138 million euros ($163 million) per season. He has spent his entire career with Barcelona, scoring 464 goals with the club over 17 seasons.In April, Messi won his 35th trophy with the club as Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in the Copa del Rey final. “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,” the club said now.