SPANISH media were left shellshocked by Barcelona’s announcement yesterday that Lionel Messi is leaving the club.
The 34-year-old Argentine will end his two-decade career in Catalunya after failing to agree a new deal.
The news was announced by Barcelona on Thursday and seemed to take everyone by surprise.
Messi was expected to agree to a pay cut and sign a new deal to stay at the Nou Camp.
But the Argentine magician is on his way and the reaction in the Spanish press says it all.
The front page of Marca today says Barcelona have let Messi escape and lost the best player in their history.
While news outlet AS have instead blamed LaLiga for Messi not signing a new contract and leaving.
Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, reacted to the bombshell news like the rest of us.
They wrote ‘Bombazo! Messi se va!’ which just said that the great was leaving.
Messi is now a free agent and being chased by the likes of PSG and Man City.
A move to the MLS to Inter Miami is also a possibility, as is a return to Argentina.
Messi, who joined Barca aged just 13, was believed to be close to agreeing a new contract but financial restrictions mean the deal CANNOT be finalised.
Reports earlier this week claimed Messi’s contract would be confirmed soon, with just the finer details left to be sorted.
According to Spanish newspaper Marca, a Thursday meeting between Barca’s hierarchy and Messi’s father and agent Jorge – along with other representatives – did not fix the remaining issues, leading Barcelona to announce Messi’s departure.
Barcelona have now confirmed that Messi will end his glittering Nou Camp career and expressed their regret that the wishes of both player and the club could not be fulfilled.
The Catalans also placed on record their thanks to Messi and wished him well for the future.
A statement read: “Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalised due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations).
“Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue [with] FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the club cannot finally be fulfilled.
“Barca would like to thank with all its heart the player’s contribution to the enhancement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life.”
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