The timeline of events which have led Barcelona to say Lionel Messi is leaving
Lionel Messi is set to leave Barcelona after “financial and structural obstacles” prevented him from signing a new deal, the LaLiga club announced on Thursday.
The six-time Ballon D’or winner was heavily linked with exiting the Catalan giants last summer but, after staying on for one more season, it has been revealed by the club that “Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona”.
Here, the PA news agency reviews the eventful last 12 months of Messi’s time at the Nou Camp.
August 14, 2020 – Messi and Barcelona are humiliated as they crash out of the Champions League following an 8-2 thrashing by eventual winners Bayern Munich in their one-off quarter-final clash.
August 17 – Head coach Quique Setien pays the price for the crushing Bayern defeat and finishing second to Real Madrid in LaLiga as he is sacked just over eight months after taking charge at the Nou Camp – his relationship with Messi had reportedly turned sour.
August 19 – Former Barca midfielder Ronald Koeman leaves his job as manager of Holland to take over from Setien, with reports claiming he told Messi he would no longer have the “privileges” he had become accustomed to.
August 25 – Messi sends a burofax to Barcelona chiefs informing them he wishes to leave – with claims of disagreements between the player and the club of the validity of a contract clause which would allow him to move away for free.
August 30 – Messi does not turn up for his scheduled Covid-19 test ahead of Barcelona’s start to pre-season training – meaning he cannot join in with Koeman’s plans. Later in the day LaLiga issues a statement siding with Barcelona in the dispute over whether Messi can depart for nothing.
September 4 – Messi says he will stay at the club for the season as it is “impossible” for another team to pay his release clause, reported to be around £600m.
October 27 – Josep Maria Bartomeu resigns as Barcelona president.
March 7, 2021 – Joan Laporta is named Barcelona’s new president and says he hopes to keep Messi at the club.
July 1 – Messi’s contract expires, making him a free agent.
July 11 – Messi is named player of the tournament as he helps Argentina win the Copa America – his first senior international trophy.
August 5 – Barcelona, reported to be facing serious financial problems, announce that despite reaching an agreement over a new contract, Messi is unable to sign because of “LaLiga regulation on players’ registration”. The club say that as a result of the situation, “Messi shall not be staying at FC Barcelona”.
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