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Lionel Messi is unable to sign a new deal with Barcelona due to La Liga regulations and will leave the club.
Messi's Nou Camp contract ended earlier this summer though the Argentine was widely expected to put pen to paper on a new deal.
And he was close to doing so, before league regulations put a stop to it due to the financial implications.
A club 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 formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations) .
"Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the Club cannot finally be fulfilled.
"Barça 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."
Messi wanted to leave Barcelona last summer due to a clause in his contract, though he was unable to without a club meeting his buyout fee.
There was plenty of speculation over where the six-time Ballon d'Or winner would end up earlier this summer before talks with Barcelona resumed.
And as things looked like nearing a happy end, with reports suggesting Messi would take a 50 per cent pay cut, those rumours died down.
Reports earlier on Thursday suggested conversations were held between Messi's representatives and Barcelona club chiefs.
Manager Ronald Koeman was understandably keen to keep the superstar at the club, as was president Joan Laporta.
Laporta said earlier this week: “We are in the process of getting Messi to stay. He wants to stay at Barça and we have to make sure that happens.
“We all want Messi in La Liga because he is a world class player, the best in the world, and he clearly helps to promote the league.
"I know Leo wants to stay and appreciate that highly. Everything is very much on the right track.”
Though it's not to be with the end of the Lionel Messi era at Barcelona now confirmed.
- Lionel Messi
- Barcelona FC
- Breaking News
- La Liga
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