Soccer legend Lionel Messi will end his decorated 20-year career with FC Barcelona after the Argentine superstar failed to reach an agreement on a new deal with the club, the Spanish giants announced on Thursday.
The 34-year-old, who has spent his whole career at Barcelona, had been expected to sign a new five-year deal with the Catalan club, which would have included a 50-percent pay cut.
"Although an agreement has been reached between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles," said a statement from the club.
"Faced with this situation, Lionel Messi will not remain linked to Barcelona. Both sides deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the club cannot come true."
One of soccer's greatest-ever players, Messi was instrumental in Barcelona's four Champions League wins between 2006 and 2015, yet his last years at the club were marred by diminished achievement, underperforming teammates and financial trouble.
He has won the Ballon d'Or, soccer's top personal title, a record six times.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.