Lionel Messi to Leave Barcelona After 17 Years With La Liga Club

FC Barcelona announced Thursday that Messi will leave the club after financial problems cropped up

FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi holding his hand against his head. The soccer legend is out at the club after 17 seasons.
Lionel Messi is out at FC Barcelona after nearly two decades.
David Ramos/Getty

After 17 record-breaking seasons with Barcelona FC, Lionel Messi won’t be signing a new contract this summer, and will have a new club come the start of the 2021/22 season.

In a stunning announcement on Thursday, Barcelona cited La Liga’s financial regulations as the reason why Messi would not be back.

“Despite having reached an agreement with Messi and with both parties clearly wanting to sign a new contract, it cannot be finalized due to financial and structural problems [rules relating to the Spanish league],” Barcelona said in a statement. “Given this situation, Messi will not continue his relationship with Barcelona. Both parties lament deeply that the desires of the player and the club cannot be met. Barca would like to wholeheartedly thank the player for his contribution to the growth of the institution and wish him the best in his personal and professional life.”

In Messi’s previous contract, which was signed in 2017 and expired on June 30, the 34-year-old reportedly earned 138 million euros ($163 million) per season. It’s unclear whether Messi is already in talks with other clubs, but he has previously been linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, according to the Associated Press.

The catalyst for Barca winning, among other trophies, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions, Messi scored a club-record 672 goals during his Barcelona career and also appeared in a record 778 games for the team.

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