What club will Messi join after Barcelona exit? Star's 'renewal deal' didn't come through
In 'nightmarish' news for soccer fans', FC Barcelona officially announced on Thursday afternoon, August 5, that Lionel Messi would not be returning to the club. The Argentina striker's deal with the club ran out at the end of June this year and he was free to negotiate a transfer with other clubs but Barcelona always maintained he wanted to stay with the club. Reportedly, the 34-year-old star was supposed to sign a new five-year deal with the club.
A similar furor was caused in August last year when Messi requested for an exit from Barcelona after some sourness in his relationship with then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu. However, Bartomeu's successor Joan Laporta convinced Messi to stay. Messi has spent his entire career at Barcelona after making his senior debut in 2003 and is the club's all-time top scorer and appearance maker with 672 goals in 778 games in all competitions.
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Why did Messi leave Barcelona?
Reportedly, the club cited economic and structural obstacles to the renewal of the deal with their star player. If the reports are to be believed, the new five-year-contract with Barcelona would have seen his salary reduced by 50 per cent. The club is struggling to reduce its wage bill, in accordance with LaLiga's financial fair play rules, for the coming season with the Covid-19 pandemic severely affecting its budget for 2021-22.
The official statement from FC Barcelona read, "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. 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."
LATEST NEWS | Leo #Messi will not continue with FC Barcelona— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 5, 2021
As soon as the news broke out, fans flooded social media with speculations over 'where will Messi go next'. While some fans reported that the star has already been approached by Tottenham, some said he will probably 'go to PSG' and reunite with his former teammate Neymar. Rumors of Manchester also in the fight to acquire the Argentian surfaced. One fan wrote, "Messi’s agent when he’s being approached by Tottenham." Another tweeted, "PSG and Manchester City owners fighting over Lionel Messi." One tweet read, "Messi has completed football. I wish he would just go back home to Argentina but his level is still too good and he will probably sign for PSG. I cannot watch football if he goes there, I can't." Another fan wrote, "Mancity, Chelsea, Bayern, PSG, Juventus, Liverpool and 2,573,970 teams in the world tomorrow at the home of Messi to ask for his hand in marriage."
Some fans also joked that 'Juventus shall approach Messi so that he can Ronaldo can play together'. One tweet read, "Make it happen Juventus. Let Messi and Ronaldo the two greatest players of all time team up." One fan wrote, "Ronaldo & Messi next season beating Spezia 9-1 now that they’re both together at Juventus." Another fan wrote, "I saw ronaldo said he wants to play a game one day with Messi in the same team. Why not see a whole season?"
Messi’s agent when he’s being approached by Tottenham pic.twitter.com/EypptnvlHZ— Oskar (@AFC_Oskar) August 5, 2021
PSG and Manchester City owners fighting over Lionel Messi 😩😭 pic.twitter.com/yq0wyl7QuA— 𝙛𝙡𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧 𝙗𝙤𝙮 𝙛𝙡𝙤𝙬𝙯 🧜🏽♂️ (@kayceeflowz) August 5, 2021
Messi has completed football. I wish he would just go back home to Argentina but his level is still too good and he will probably sign for PSG. I cannot watch football if he goes there, I can't.— Josip (@JosipFCB93) August 5, 2021
Mancity, Chelsea, Bayern, PSG, Juventus, Liverpool and 2,573,970 teams in the world tomorrow at the home of Messi to ask for his hand in marriage. pic.twitter.com/8yutZVHxeL— Stephen (@Stepheniyadi) August 5, 2021
Ronaldo & Messi next season beating Spezia 9-1 now that they’re both together at Juventus. pic.twitter.com/0ouUIkWtEJ— IG: DebatableFootballOpinions (@DebatableFO) August 5, 2021
Make it happen Juventus. Let Messi and Ronaldo the two greatest players of all time team up 💯🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/iDblYRcOZT— J 🐳 (@RockTheBabyRuss) August 5, 2021
I saw ronaldo said he wants to play a game one day with Messi in the same team. Why not see a whole season? 😂— Liam Broady (@Liambroady) August 5, 2021