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After 21 years at the club, Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona for good this summer following a breakdown in contract negotiations.
Messi’s previous deal expired in June, but the Argentine was set to re-sign for the Catalan giants after fresh negotiations.
The 34-year-old was due to sign a new deal that would see him take a 50% pay cut, worth £425million over four years, in order to ease some of Barcelona’s financial pressures.
However, Barcelona released a shock statement on Thursday evening stating that the deal cannot go ahead.
The statement said: “Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the Club cannot finally be fulfilled.
"Barca would like to thank with all its heart the player's contribution to the enhancement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life.”
So, after parting ways with Barcelona, here are five clubs Messi could join after his shock exit.
The Argentine has been strongly linked with the Premier League champions since revealing he had intentions to leave the club last summer.
However, Messi made a U-turn and decided to play out the final year of his contract with the Catalan club.
With Jack Grealish’s imminent arrival and a potential move for wantaway striker Harry Kane, going after Messi would be difficult given financial fair play restrictions.
Which club will Lionel Messi sign for? Let us know in the comments section.
Another club with a seemingly bottomless pit is French giants PSG, who will no doubt be in the race, following the recent news.
According to The Sun, Messi was reportedly offered ‘everything money could buy’ after his initial contract expired at Barcelona, in an attempt to reunite the Argentine with former team mate Neymar.
But now Messi won’t be staying on in Spain, the door for a move to France could easily open once more.
The 34-year-old may decide to leave Europe altogether and head across the pond to join David Beckham’s Inter Miami.
The newly formed franchise will be boosted by the fact that Messi has previously expressed his desire to play in the MLS.
In an interview with Spanish TV channel La Sexta in December of last year, Messi said: “I would like to play in the United States someday, it’s always been one of my dreams…but I don’t know if it will happen.”
The potential for Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to play together is one that would excite every football fan on the planet.
But whether the Serie A giants could afford both players, or even just Messi is extremely unlikely.
The Old Lady have struggled financially in recent years and any move to try and sign Messi would only worsen those problems.
Newell’s Old Boys
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The Argentine could return to his homeland and end his career in the place where it all began.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been tipped by many to end his career at Newells, but other factors will come into play, including relocating his family back to South America.
But Messi has made it no secret that returning to Newells would be a dream come true.
He told TyC Sports in October 2019: "I have the dream of being able to play for Newell's in Argentina, but I don't know if it's really going to happen because I have a family that is ahead of my desire.
"It's a dream I've had since I was little, but I have a family, I have three children, I live in a place that has given me everything and where I am calm and can give my children a spectacular future.
"We think much more about that than my desire of playing football in Argentina. I will try to convince the family, because today we have to convince the children too."
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