"Leo Messi will not continue with FC Barcelona." So said a brief statement published on August 5 that held massive implications for the Spanish football club. Note that it's an issue for Barca and seemingly no biggie for Messi, who has since transitioned to Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi's move hasn't been officially confirmed by Messi or PSG but reports indicate that Messi has been signed to a two-year PSG contract. If nothing else, Messi's arrival in Paris and his jaunty graphic T-shirt are pretty clear signs that the move is assured.
In fact, his father and agent, Jorge Messi, told reporters that, "Yes," his son will be signing with PSG. So there's that.
It seems like Messi will be taking a (slight) pay cut from his multi-million Euro Barca salary, from €45 million~ to about €35 million~, so belt-tightening times for Messi ahead (kidding, of course) but a bold new era for the already dominant French club.
Meanwhile, what was Barca's issue? "Financial and structural obstacles" that stood between Messi's desire to stay on Barca and the team's yen to retain its star captain.
"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," the August 5 statement continued. "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."
There were some recent ups and downs at Barca, yes, but Messi was keen to stay at the club that he'd always played for. Just this past July, he agreed to a five-year pay cut — taking his earnings from about €45 million (about $53 million) to about €20 million (about $23.6 million).
What happened, however, is not really Messi's fault: Barcelona's mismanagement of funds prevented it from resigning his contract even at a halved rate. It pays 110% of its income to player salaries and is already many millions of dollars in debt.
To keep Messi, Barcelona would have had to move around some players and adjust some figures, but seems like time ran out before it was able to do so.
One of the biggest contemporary stars in all of football, Messi has been a massive powerhouse for Barcelona, aiding the team in securing four Champion League titles and three World Cups, to name a few awards. Of course, Messi himself is highly decorated, his on-pitch prowess earning multiple Golden Shoes, Ballon d'Ors, and FIFA nods.
Unsurprisingly, social media exploded following news of Messi's departure with wistful goodbyes, mockery, and speculation about the star's next moves.