Lionel Messi has dominated the headlines over the last 24 hours due to the decision made to end his Barcelona career after 21 memorable years in Spain.
Messi, 34, was expected to sign a new contract with the Catalan giants, but La Liga’s financial regulation rules prevented the desirable happening for Barcelona fans.
The club confirmed Messi’s departure with a short and succinct statement explaining the reasoning behind the outcome of this whole fiasco.
It read: “Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalised due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish La Liga regulations).
“Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the club cannot finally be fulfilled.
“Barca would like to thank with all its heart the player’s contribution to the enhancement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life.”
Messi’s departure remains largely down to Barcelona’s financial woes. They are reportedly £1.2billion in debt, whilst La Liga rules stipulate that the club’s wage limit can only be €382.7million (£325.2million), an aspect that is simply not possible with Messi’s lofty wages.
The failure to agree a new, reduced deal has seen the Argentine depart and means that he is now available on a free transfer.
PSG are the early frontrunners to sign the player thought of by many as the greatest player of all time.
Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Italia reports that the Parisians have already made the first contact in an attempt to make the dream front three of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe a scary possibility.
Chelsea, alongside Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, have been long-term admirers of the winger, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either of them make their own play for the now ex-Barcelona legend.
Guardiola’s affinity to Messi is one advantage the Cityzens have over the Stamford Bridge-based club, but the latter’s admiration of Blues star Mason Mount creates a level playing field for the two as they battle it out to try and win the race for his signature.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner had already joined a long list of Mount admirers which include his current manager Thomas Tuchel and his best friend Declan Rice on it.
Last year, Barcelona star Lionel Messi was asked to pick 15 players from around the world that were up and coming talents that will go on to achieve great things in the future. As well as naming the likes of Borussia Dortmund Jadon Sancho and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain, Messi also included Mount on his list.
Messi said: “Having watched him play he has the potential to be one of the best.”
High praise indeed from the serial winner who now has a big decision to make on his next club.
With the west Londoners currently putting their eggs into resigning former striker Romelu Lukaku this summer, Marina Granvoskaia may not have the time required to sign Messi this summer, with securing a central midfielder and central defender top of the priority list once the forward signing his confirmed.
Coupled with this, the 34-year-old’s astronomical wages would break the pay structure at the club, therefore suggesting that, whilst Tuchel himself might dream of having the ‘GOAT’ in his squad roster next season, the realistic chances of this happening at this stage are slim.