Lionel Messi is set to leave Barcelona after it was confirmed his contract would not be renewed due to what the club described as “economic and structural obstacles”
Ansu Fati has become the first current Barcelona star to publicly acknowledge the fact that Lionel Messi is set to leave the club.
The football world was rocked on Thursday night, when the LaLiga giants announced that the club’s record scorer would not continue at the Nou Camp.
It was widely expected that Messi would sign a new deal at his boyhood club, with the Argentinian reportedly agreeing a huge cut in his wages.
However, what the club described as “economic and structural obstacles” placed by LaLiga financial regulations meant that the contract could not be agreed upon.
There has been a wall of silence from those currently within Ronald Koeman’s side, but fellow La Masia graduate Fati has now broken ranks to pay tribute.
In a post on his social media account, he acknowledged his former teammate as the GOAT (Greatest of all time), whilst also thanking him for his “gestures of love”.
“Every boy who arrives at La Masia dreams of playing with you, I feel lucky to have accomplished it,” Fati’s post reads.
“I wanted to thank you for these two years for your gestures of love towards me and for everything I learned.
“@LeoMessi my family and I will always be eternally grateful, I wish you all the best to you and yours.”
Barcelona president Joan Laporta addressed the media on Friday morning, explaining that he refused to leverage the club’s future in order to re-sign him.
“I can’t make a decision that will affect the club for 50 years,” Laporta said.
“The club is over 100 years old and it’s above everyone and everything, even above the best player of the world. We will always thank him for everything he’s done for us.
“In order to have fair play, we need to do this or make an effort which would put the club at risk. We couldn’t keep going with this and we needed to make a decision, which we have.”
“Leo wanted to stay, so he’s not happy,” Laporta added. “We all wanted him to stay. For him, he has to confront reality. It’s a reality that can’t be changed and he knows I wish him the best wherever he goes.”
Laporta also revealed that they planned to ‘move on’ from Messi in 2023, but have had to bring those plans forward thanks to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Obviously it’s sad the situation is what it is – that with Covid, we can’t pay homage to him in a way we would have wanted to do in two years with fans in the stands.
“We were all thinking, two years and then if he wanted more we could negotiate. We wanted the post-Messi era to start in two years. Taking into account the circumstances, we’ve had to bring it forward.”
Do you want an exclusive pre-season preview of YOUR club – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy .