After an astounding 15 years in Barcelona, Lionel Messi is reportedly leaving the club this summer. Contract disputes dominated headlines, but it seemed that Messi would take a pay cut to stay. However, the club announced his departure after contract negotiations failed.
Barcelona suffered great debts these past few seasons as financial mismanagement decreased much of the club’s funding. As a result, the club tried persuading their star man to sign a new contract with a decreased wage. As reports now know, the new contract never materialized. In addition, the club cited La Liga regulations on contracts as another source for the failed contract.
“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
The news affects essentially every top club in Europe. Earlier in the summer, Manchester City saw links to Messi. However, those died down after City signed Jack Grealish. Rumors also circulated of advanced contract issues, but Barcelona always remained favorites to sign him once again.
With Messi gone, Barcelona has a mountain to climb. He scored the most goals, had the most assists, and remained the club’s best player last season. Without him, the club may look lost. After all, he’s been with Barcelona his entire professional career, making his debut back in 2006.
Now, 15 years later, he leaves as not just the club’s greatest player but also as arguably the greatest player ever. In those 15 seasons, he amassed a staggering 672 goals and 305 assists.
He also won it all at the club. He brought a Champions League, Club World Cup, numerous La Ligas, and countless other trophies during his time. It was in Camp Nou where he started his path in soccer. Since that debut in 2006, he rose to the top of the sport and the world.
Currently, without a club, it is unknown where he’ll end up. Will he join a Premier League side and take on the English press? Or will he join Ronaldo in Italy? Currently, everything is up in the air, but clubs will pursue him without a doubt.