■ In tears during a press conference, FC Barcelona and Argentine player Lionel Messi confirmed his departure from the catalan club after 21 years due to Financial Fair Play of the Spanish La Liga.

The La Masia graduate and all-time top goalscorer of the club with 672 goals was emotional before he even made an opening statement.

The 34-year-old playmaker said he believed he would be staying at his childhood club, with five-year deal agreed on a 50 percent pay-cut, only for a surprise u-turn to happen late last week.

“My contract was never the issue … what I know is that i did everything I could. The club said it could not happen because of La Liga. I can guarantee you that i did everything I could to stay.” Messi told a news conference as hundreds of fans, many wearing his number 10 jersey massed outside Barca’s Camp Nou stadium to bid farewell to the player.

The six times Ballon d’Or winner has been out of contract since the end of June, with Paris Saint-Germain widely expected to sign him to the Parc des Princes to reunite with Neymar. The pair played together for four years and according to reports Neymar is so keen to have Messi in Paris that he offered him his No 10 shirt, but he rejected it and opted for the No 19 shirt – a number he previously wore at Barcelona.

Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s most-capped player with 778 games, winning four Champions Leagues and 10 League titles. Also In his credit are, 7 Copa del Rey, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups and 3 Club World Cups. He won a total of forty individual award since his senior professional debut in 2004 and won the treble twice in his career – 2009-10 and 2014-15 seasons.

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