By Abba Gwale
Lionel Messi will not sign a new contract at Barcelona, the club has confirmed.
Messi’s latest deal expired this summer but he was expected to commit to a new contract ahead of the new season.
The Argentine held talks with the club on Thursday and although both parties hoped to reach an agreement that would see Messi remain at Camp Nou.
A statement on the club’s website 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.”