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On Thursday, the Spanish giants announced that the captain will no longer stay at the club after 21 years with a bombshell statement, claiming that La Liga rules made it impossible for Barça to register Messi’s contract,

According to Mundo Deportivo, Messi and his family were quite taken aback by Barcelona’s announcement. Having been on a holiday in Ibiza since the conclusion of Argentina’s Copa America campaign, Messi had returned from the vacation to sign his contract on Wednesday. 

Reports in the media as well as the comments from the Barca board assured fans of Messi’s stay, with only the signature of the Argentine forward keeping them from making an official announcement. 

Barca, on Thursday, August 5, called Messi to inform him that they could not register him as a player due to La Liga’s restrictions. The club, hence, was forced to say goodbye to Lionel Messi, their greatest player ever.

“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 Spanish LaLiga regulations on player registration.

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.” — FC Barcelona said in a statement on Thursday.

Messi, as has been understood, had no intentions of leaving Barcelona and was looking forward to spending the coming years with his boyhood club. The 32-year-old hasn’t made any public reaction to the development and isn’t expected to do that anytime soon either.

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