Lionel Messi ‘shocked’ and ‘surprised’ at Barcelona contract collapse

Lionel Messi is said to be “shocked” and “surprised” at the dramatic revelation on Thursday that Barcelona could not re-sign him.

The Argentine is at his home in Barcelona, taking time with his father and agent Jorge to come to terms with what has happened and analyse his options for the future.

On Thursday night, a day after Messi returned to Catalonia following his post-Copa America holiday, Barca announced that Messi is to leave the Nou Camp and conclude his 21-year association with the La Liga giants.

Messi travelled to Barca on Thursday expecting to agree on the details of the announcement of his new five-year deal and discuss preparations for the Joan Gamper trophy game on Sunday.

Messi thought everything was agreed and ready to go forward – but instead he was told it was not possible to register him in line with La Liga financial rules. President Joan Laporta, speaking in a press conference on Friday morning, laid out the deep financial mess that has meant they cannot afford a new contract for the 34-year-old.

Messi wanted to stay at Barcelona and has not considered any other clubs this summer. He has had no plan B.

But Messi and his father are now open again to joining another club and they will begin listening to offers in the coming days.

This is a clear indication that there appears to be no way back for him at Barcelona.

Messi became a free agent on July 1 after his previous deal expired on June 30 and Paris Saint-Germain are currently leading the race for the forward’s signature.

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PSG are making progress in talks to sign Messi, believe they have a good chance of completing the deal and can afford to sign him without breaking any financial fair play rules.

They have already signed free agents Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum this summer.

A move to PSG would see a reunion with his former team-mate Neymar, the prospect of challenging for trophies, and being part of a new ‘project’ at the Parc des Princes under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Messi has won the Ballon d’Or six times and is Barcelona’s record goalscorer with 672 goals in 778 appearances.

The Argentina international has won 35 major titles at club level since making his debut in 2003 – 10 La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns, seven Copa del Rey trophies, three Club World Cups, three European Super Cups and eight Spanish Super Cups.

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