Lionel Messi's time with FC Barcelona has come to an end. The team tweeted Thursday that Messi will not continue with the club after it was thought he had a new deal to remain with the team.
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 agreement from getting officially done. In its statement, the team said the deal could not be completed due to "financial and structural obstacles [Spanish Liga regulations]."
Under La Liga rules, Barcelona would have had to cut roughly $200 million in salary to retain Messi, according to The New York Times. That was an unrealistic figure, and the only way Barcelona was going to keep Messi was if La Liga granted the team an exception. La Liga’s chief executive Javier Tebas said in July that wasn't going to happen.
The move could prove damaging to La Liga, as Messi is a huge draw.
Barcelona wishes Lionel Messi the best after deal falls through
Barcelona expressed disappointment that Messi's wishes would not be fulfilled. It also thanked Messi for his contributions to the club.
"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 has spent his entire career with Barcelona, scoring 464 goals with the club over 17 seasons. Messi, 34, should draw significant interest now that he's back on the market.
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