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Manchester City and Paris St Germain have been placed on red alert after Barcelona have officially announced that Lionel Messi will be departing the club this summer. Messi is already a free agent after his contract with the Catalan outfit came to an end in June. However, a deal was reached between the two parties a few weeks ago and Messi’s wages would be cut by a remarkable 50% as part of this new contract, which was expected to run for five years.

However, cash-strapped Barcelona have been unable to meet the contract due to structural and financial obstacles. As a result, Messi will not be continuing with the club and the 34-year-old can be signed on a free.

Messi has been with Barcelona throughout his career and he is the club’s record goalscorer with 672 goals in just 778 matches. Since his debut in 2003, Messi has been one of the most successful footballers on the planet and he has picked up six Ballon d’Or titles in addition to many team honours. A winner of multiple Champions League and La Liga medals, Messi even went on to pick up the Copa America with Argentina a few weeks ago.

Back in January, a leak of Messi’s contract information revealed that the Argentine superstar was being paid a remarkable €555 million over his entire contract. His annual salary came just under €140 million along with a loyalty bonus of €78 million. Such astronomical figures were seen as a major factor behind Barcelona’s huge pile of debt, which has left the club in a poor situation this summer. Apart from a few free signings, Barcelona have been unable to make any acquisitions in the market. However, the club were keen on retaining Messi, who is commercial value is still exceptional, in a bid to recover from the mounting debts.

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