Sat, 25 Sep 2021

© Provided by Xinhua

Instead, the news is that he is leaving.

The news is a huge blow for Barca president, Joan Laporta, who returned to the club in March saying he would work to keep the striker at the Camp Nou. Laporta maintained his optimism through the weeks of negotiations over Messi's new contract, even saying on Monday that "Every night I have sweet dreams when I think of Messi," and adding that the "negotiation is progressing well and along the lines we are thinking of - we are working on it: Messi wants to continue and we must ensure that he continues."

© Provided by Xinhua

One of the main problems had been fitting Messi's contract into LaLiga's tough financial fair play regulations, but that issue looked to have been resolved on Wednesday when LaLiga announced an agreement with the investment fund, CVC Capital Partners, which will give Barca 270 million euros (40 million of which can be spent on signings and wages), enough to pay for Messi's new deal.

Making his first team debut as a 16-year-old in November 2003, Messi went on to make 778 first team appearances in which he scored a record 672 goals, including an all-time record of 474 goals in LaLiga. He has helped Barca win 10 LaLiga titles, 7 Copas del Rey, the Champions League on 4 occasions, as well as 7 Spanish and 3 European Supercups and 3 FIFA World Club Cups, while winning the Balon d'Or six times.

The news will now almost certainly start speculation that Messi will join either Manchester City or Paris Saint Germain.

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