Lionel Messi will end his 20-year career with Barcelona after the Argentine superstar and the Spanish giants were unable to overcome “economic and structural obstacles” to a new deal.
The announcement on Thursday that a player widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time is on the market will spark a scramble for his signature, with wealthy Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City potentially in the frame.
Messi has played 788 games for the club — a Barcelona record — and won 35 trophies in a glittering career in Spain. Barcelona had been expected to announce that the 34-year-old six-time Ballon d’Or winner would stay, but in a statement the club said negotiations had broken down.
“Although an agreement has been reached between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi it cannot be formalised due to economic and structural obstacles,” the statement said. “Faced with this situation, Lionel Messi will not be staying at Barcelona. Both sides deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the club cannot come true.
“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.” Messi himself has yet to comment, possibly suggesting that there might be another twist in the saga.

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