Thursday 10/21/21
FOOTBALL

Messi to leave Barca as contract talks collapse

He was expected to commit to a new deal ahead of the coming campaign
FILED - Soccer: Cup Spain, Copa del Rey, FC Barcelona - CD Leganes, Round of 16 at Camp Nou stadium. Barcelona's Lionel Messi gesturing. Photo: Eric Alonso/ZUMA Wire/dpa
FILED - Soccer: Cup Spain, Copa del Rey, FC Barcelona - CD Leganes, Round of 16 at Camp Nou stadium. Barcelona's Lionel Messi gesturing. Photo: Eric Alonso/ZUMA Wire/dpa

Lionel Messi will not return to Barcelona due to "economic and structural obstacles", the club announced on Thursday.

The Blaugrana great's contract at Camp Nou expired at the end of last season, but he was expected to commit to a new deal ahead of the coming campaign.

Messi reportedly agreed a 50-per-cent reduction in wages, with news of the contract anticipated this week ahead of Sunday's Joan Gamper Trophy match against Juventus.

But Barca's dire financial situation means they are unable to register new players due to La Liga's salary restrictions.

Messi, like new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, had been left in limbo.

And following widespread reports in the Spanish media, Barca confirmed Messi could not formalize the agreement, meaning he "will not continue to be linked to FC Barcelona."

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