Lionel Messi To Leave FC Barcelona, Club Says : NPR

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In this 2019 file photo, Lionel Messi waves at the crowd as he holds the trophy of the best Spanish La Liga player prior to a soccer match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona says Lionel Messi will not stay with the club.

Manu Fernandez/AP


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Manu Fernandez/AP


In this 2019 file photo, Lionel Messi waves at the crowd as he holds the trophy of the best Spanish La Liga player prior to a soccer match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona says Lionel Messi will not stay with the club.

Manu Fernandez/AP

It’s official: Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi will leave FC Barcelona.

The departure comes less than a month after Messi and Barcelona verbally agreed to a five-year deal, which included a substantial pay cut for Messi. His previous salary was around $32 million.

“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 formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (in Spanish LaLiga regulations),” FC Barcelona said in a statement. “Faced with this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona.”

Messi, one of the top players in soccer history, had expressed frustration with the Spanish soccer club last August, when he stated that he wanted to leave Barcelona. The 34-year-old ended his 21-year contract with the club in June and has remained a free agent July 1.

Josie Fischels is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

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