You read that correctly. Football legend Lionel Messi won’t be staying with Barcelona. After the years of rumored exits, one has finally come to fruition.

Why is Lionel Messi Leaving?

Lionel Messi looks on in disappointment in the Champions League.

You can’t think of FC Barcelona and not immediately think of Lionel Messi. The Argentine forward has shattered club records and scored 672 goals in 778 appearances. He is famous for being loyal to Barca through thick and thin, which only makes this breaking news even more unbelievable.

Management at the club hasn’t always treated Messi the best, yet he continued to don the kit out of love for Barcelona.

Yet Fabrizio Romano tweeted on Thursday:

Additionally, Barcelona’s official website announced Messi’s departure. No beating around the bush with this announcement. Messi will be wearing a different badge next season. So why is he leaving? Simply put, Barcelona cannot afford to keep him. An agreement to extend was reached between player and club but the deal could not be put into action due to financial reasons. Barcelona has been on the verge of bankruptcy and has struggled to pay players.

So in heartbreaking fashion, Messi will not be able to stay with his lifelong club purely because of money. Or to be more specific, because of a lack of it.

What’s Next For Messi?

Lionel Messi prepares to take a corner kick.

This announcement comes as an incredulous shock to the footballing world. In all honesty, I think it’s going to take a while for a lot of us to truly comprehend this situation. For Barcelona fans, it’s going to take even longer to recover from what is a nightmare scenario.

So where to next? Some will point to Manchester City as a possible next destination for the Argentine. Others will point to PSG. Those two are among the few that could afford Messi at all. We really won’t know until a more official announcement comes.

End of an Era in Spain

Lionel Messi battles with Sergio Ramos in El Clásico.

Summer of 2021 truly saw the end of an era in Spain. Real Madrid and Barcelona lost both of their captains in Sergio Ramos and now Leo Messi. These two players have defined decades of intense El Clásico rivalries. It will be interesting to see how the two Spanish giants do without Messi and Ramos. But one thing is for sure: the two left as legends.

Again, it remains to be seen where Messi will take his talents next season, and it’s going to be bizarre seeing him wear a badge that isn’t Barca’s.

Follow me @james_kim15 on Twitter and check out the Belly Up Soccer page to stay up to date with the footballing world!
About Author

James Kim

I'm currently a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I grew up playing soccer and fell in love with the sport. My motivation to continue playing The Beautiful Game started from watching clips of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on Youtube, and from there it took off. I love staying up to date on the latest news in the footballing world and talking about it with others! I am a passionate Real Madrid fan however, so to Barcelona fans: it's just something we'll have to work around. :)

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