Lionel Messi’s stay at Barcelona appears to be over after the Spanish giants announced LaLiga regulations made it impossible for him to sign a new deal.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at where the Argentina playmaker could end up next.
Messi already has a strong bond with City boss Pep Guardiola from their time together at the Nou Camp. While City would appear to be able to more than match Messi’s personal terms, they have already snapped up Jack Grealish from Aston Villa this summer and are said to have their sights on England captain Harry Kane.
Paris St Germain
The French giants are another club unlikely to baulk at a hefty wage packet to land such a signing, one which would boost marketing revenues around the globe. Linking up again with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar would be another lure, as would helping develop the talents of France forward Kylian Mbappe.
Major League Soccer
Messi turned 34 in June, an age when some high profile players might eye up a move Stateside to follow the likes of David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic into Major League Soccer. Messi would unquestionably be the biggest name ever to set foot in the MLS if he was to make such a move.
Newell’s Old Boys
Messi started out with the Rosario club when he was six years old and they continue to hold a special place in his heart. Sentiment, though, only pays for so much in football, and the chances of a switch back to his homeland appear slim, with Newell’s likely to struggle to meet Messi’s wage demands.
In their statement, which sent shock waves through the football world on Thursday evening, the Catalan giants were careful to stress both the club and player had reached an agreement for Messi to stay, but had been prevented from completing the contract extension “because of financial and structural obstacles” from LaLiga. Should, for whatever reason, those hurdles be overcome, then Messi could yet pull on the Barca number 10 shirt again this season.