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Barca insist both they and Messi were willing to extend his stay, but claim La Liga regulations have made that impossible.
A statement on the Catalan giants’ official website said: “Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations).
“As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona.”
The statement continued: “Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.
“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.”
So where next? A number of high-profile clubs have been credited with interest as you would expect.
The French champions make a lot of sense and boast both the financial power and Champions League-winning potential Messi will be looking for.
Manchester City 21/10
Boss Pep Guardiola has long admired Messi and enjoyed the most successful spell of his career alongside him at Barcelona.
Any MLS club 11/1
A move to the US could beckon if Messi feels his career in Europe is over, but finance could scupper such plans.
Inter Milan 12/1
Inter have been linked with Messi before but are suffering financially with Romelu Lukaku set to leave to balance the books with the Serie A winners.
Manchester United 18/1
One of the few teams with the financial capability to sign Messi, they have already spent big on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane this summer.
Newell’s Old Boys 20/1
The emotional if unrealistic choice would see Messi return to where it all began and his boyhood club in Argentina.
Odds via Betfair