Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona: Argentina captain won't sign new contract

Sam Marsden, a Barcelona correspondent, debates whether Joan Laporta, Barcelona President is seeking a response from LaLiga in the event that Messi leaves. (1:52).Barcelona has announced that Lionel Messi will be leaving the club due to financial difficulties. The forward was not able to agree on a new contract with them.Messi, 34 years old, is a free agent after his previous terms expire on June 30, but ESPN reported in July that a loose deal over a five year extension had been reached.- Messi's 21-year Barca career is the ultimate timeline- Watch ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. Only)- Do you not have ESPN? Get instant accessBarca was unable to register Messi’s new contract with LaLiga, while still complying with financial fair play rules.Barcelona stated in a statement that they had reached an agreement with Messi, and both sides clearly want to sign a new contract. However, the financial and structural problems [rules relating Spanish league] prevented it from being finalized."Messi has decided to end his relationship with Barcelona because of this. Both Messi and Barcelona are deeply disappointed that their mutual desires cannot be fulfilled."Barca would like the player to be sincerely thanked for his contributions to the growth and success of the institution, and wishes him all the best in his professional and personal life."Spanish clubs are required to adhere to a spending limit. This includes signings and salaries.Barca spent over 600 million dollars before the outbreak of the coronavirus, but this was cut to 347m in the last season. This amount is likely to be even lower for the next campaign.The Catalan club had to lower their wage bill or make significant transfers to register Messi's contract with the league.The club has so far failed in their efforts to sign on high-earners like Miralem Pjanic and Philippe Coutinho, and has not reached an agreement with some of its older players regarding wage cuts.Talks continue with Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets as well as Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, and Jordi Alba about salary adjustments.After a falling out with Josep Maria Bartomeu's president, Messi attempted to leave Barca last year but ended up staying.Since then, speculation has been rampant with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City being the clubs that have been most closely following his situation. They are now the favorites to sign him as a free transfer.It seemed that the situation had changed completely after Joan Laporta was elected as Bartomeu’s successor in March. Laporta was the president at the time Messi entered Barca's first team. Messi is close to his family.Laporta always stated that he was confident of reaching an agreement with Messi and that building a sporting project would ensure his success on the pitch was the key.ESPN has received information from sources that Messi is not convinced by Laporta's work in the transfer market.Another source said that disagreements arose over the distribution of commission payments in the deal.Messi's departure marks a significant moment in the club's history. Barca's academy was his first contact. He has played 778 games for Barca, breaking Xavi Hernandez’s appearance record.His 672 goals are another club record. He also helped Barca win, among others, 10 LaLiga titles, and the Champions League on 4 occasions.He has been awarded the Ballon d'Or six times and is considered one of the best players in the game.