That eventuality came to fruition on Thursday night, with the Catalan giants confirming that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner was not set to return to the Camp Nou following a failure to agree a new contract.
His previous deal expired at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season. Barcelona confirmed Messi’s departure with a short statement on Thursday evening.
It read: “Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalised due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish La Liga regulations).
“Barca would like to thank with all its heart the player’s contribution to the enhancement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life.”