Exit by one of soccer's greatest ever stars marks the end of an era
Lionel Messi will end his decorated 20-year career with FC Barcelona after the Argentine superstar failed to reach agreement on a new deal with the club, the Spanish giants announced on Thursday.
The 34-year-old, who has spent his whole career at Barcelona, had been expected to sign a new five-year deal with the Catalan club, which would have included a 50-percent salary reduction.
"Although an agreement has been reached between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles," said a statement from the club.
"Faced with this situation, Lionel Messi will not remain linked to Barcelona. Both sides deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the club cannot come true."
One of soccer's greatest-ever players, Messi was instrumental in Barcelona's four Champions League wins between 2006 and 2015, yet his last years at the club were marred by diminished achievement, underperforming teammates and financial trouble.