Lionel Messi, arguably the face of Barcelona soccer, is departing from the club at age 34. Financial problems have made it essentially impossible for him to return to the club he has called home for nearly two decades.

Barcelona released an official statement, part of which reads:

“Despite having reached an agreement with Messi and with both parties clearly wanting to sign a new contract, it cannot be finalised due to financial and structural problems … Given this situation, Messi will not continue his relationship with Barcelona. Both parties lament deeply that the desires of the player and the club cannot be met … Barca would like to wholeheartedly thank the player for his contribution to the growth of the institution and wish him the best in his personal and professional life.”

LaLiga, the league that Barcelona plays in, nixed a deal originally agreed upon by the club and Messi. It would have seen Messi return to the club for five more years.

Messi almost left last summer after getting into a major feud with club President Josep Maria Bartomeu, however ended up staying with the team after Joan Laporta came on to replace Bartomeu.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are now the frontrunners for Messi’s services. Where he ends up, however, is still undecided.

Messi played 778 games for Barcelona. In those games, he recorded 672 goals, led the team to 10 LaLiga titles and won the Ballon d’Or six times.

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