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Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona: LIVE updates after club confirm Argentine’s exit after ending contract talks

The Argentine has failed to agree on a new contract at the Nou Camp after his previous deal expired

Jack Rathborn
Thursday 05 August 2021 20:59 BST
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Messi marks 400 goals

Lionel Messi’s departure at Barcelona has been confirmed by the club after both parties failed to agree on a new contract.

The Argentine has spent 17 seasons with the Blaugrana since turning professional and making his debut in 2004.

The 34-year-old has spent his entire legendary club career with the La Liga giants, becoming their all-time top scorer with 672 goals in 778 appearances, while building a huge collection of medals, including 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and six Ballon d’Or awards.

A statement 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.”

Follow the latest updates on Messi’s future away from the Nou Camp with PSG and Manchester City emerging as the strongest contenders to sign the 34-year-old:

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Neymar sparks rumours of Lionel Messi joining PSG

Neymar’s recent post has sparked rumours of Lionel Messi joining him at PSG in light of his Barcelona exit being confirmed by the La Liga club.

The Brazil, who lost to his former teammate and Argentina in the Copa America final this summer, shared a picture of himself with the 34-year-old and three other PSG teammates: Leandro Paredes, Marco Verratti and Angel Di Maria.

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 20:55
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The timeline of events which have led Barcelona to say Lionel Messi is leaving

Lionel Messi is set to leave Barcelona after “financial and structural obstacles” prevented him from signing a new deal, the LaLiga club announced on Thursday.

The six-time Ballon D’or winner was heavily linked with exiting the Catalan giants last summer but, after staying on for one more season, it has been revealed by the club that “Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona”.

Here, we review the eventful last 12 months of Messi’s time at the Nou Camp.

The timeline of events that led to Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona

Barca have announced that Messi will depart the club this summer.

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 20:50
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Why Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona and why he could still stay

It is news that has stunned football, and will change the entire football world regardless of what happens next, writes Miguel Delaney.

Many of the most influential figures in the game were already working out how they could secure one of the greatest players of all time, and still the best right now. Phones have been ablaze.

It is all from a simple 10-word statement, that is at once the saddest and most sensational development in a famous club’s history.

“Latest news: Leo Messi will not continue with FC Barcelona.”

There is plenty of intrigue about what next, but almost as much in what led to this - which is why his future at Barcelona may be far from over.

The first thing that should be said is that there is actually a bit of a sadness that Messi isn’t finishing his career at the club that saw him become a complete player. There was something gloriously old-fashioned about the idea, to go with the sort of footballer Messi is.

Why Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona and why he could still stay

Spanish league rules make it impossible for Messi to re-sign with the club he’s spent his whole career at, but that might not be how the story ends

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 20:25
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Grealish completes £100m move to Man City

Meanwhile in Manchester... Jack Grealish has completed his £100m move from Aston Villa to Manchester City.

The 25-year-old moves on a deal reportedly worth £100 million, making him both the most expensive English player of all time and the most expensive signing by a Premier League club.

A star at Villa Park last season, Grealish was instrumental in a much-improved campaign for Dean Smith’s side, at least until an injury late on in 2020/21, with those performances earning him a place in the England squad for Euro 2020. The creative attacker played five times at the tournament, starting once, and providing two assists along the way as the Three Lions reached the final.

Jack Grealish completes £100 million transfer to Manchester City

The attacking midfielder swaps Villa Park for the Etihad

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 20:05
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Memphis Depay on playing with Lionel Messi

Memphis Depay joined Barcelona on a free transfer from Lyon this summer.

But the Dutch forward now looks set to miss out on a partnership with Lionel Messi, who he has claimed would compliment his own skill set for Ronald Koeman’s side.

“We are all attackers, but all different in my opinion,” he said at his unveiling, as cited by Sport.

“I have abilities and strong points different to Aguero, for example, or any player.

“I believe that the three of us are compatible and different, but we are going to see how everything goes.”

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 20:01
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Lionel Messi’s record at Barcelona in numbers

Barcelona have announced that record scorer Lionel Messi’s career with the club is over.

A deal had been agreed for the Argentina star to finish his career with the club where he has scored 672 goals in 778 appearances since his debut in 2004, but their financial situation meant the contract could not be signed.

Here, we take a statistical look at Messi’s impact on the club.

Lionel Messi’s record at Barcelona in numbers

The Argentina international is to leave the club he has played at for two decades.

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 20:00
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Barcelona press conference with president Laporta scheduled for Friday

Barcelona President Laporta will host a press conference on Friday at 11am to discuss Lionel Messi’s departure.

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 19:55
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Lionel Messi on Pep Guardiola

“He (Guardiola) has something special about him. I don’t know,” Messi told Spanish television channel La Sexta last year.

“He makes you see things in a certain way in terms of how he prepares for games, both defensively and going forward.

“He could tell you exactly how the match is going and how you have to attack to win.”

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 19:51
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Pep Guardiola on Lionel Messi

“We don’t have players who can win the game by himself - we don’t have a Messi, a Cristiano, [Kylian] Mbappe or Neymar,” he said in February.

“I’ll be honest, I would love to have a player who scores every single game four goals and runs like these players run, I would love it.”

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 19:51
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Lionel Messi: Barcelona superstar’s club career in pictures after exit confirmed

Since making his debut for Barcelona in October 2004, Lionel Messi has gone on to establish himself as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Following the announcement that Messi is set to leave the Nou Camp we take a look back at his career with Barca.

Lionel Messi’s Barcelona career in pictures

The Argentine is leaving the Nou Camp

Jack Rathborn5 August 2021 19:49

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