After a glittering career spanning 17 years, Argentine superstar Lionel Messi is leaving his beloved Barcelona.

The six-time World Player of the Year, fresh from winning his first title with Argentina when they beat Brazil in the Copa America final, was initially set to renew his contract at the Catalan giants and reportedly even accepted an 50% pay cut to stay at the club.

Shockingly, the Catalan giants announced last night that Messi is leaving the club.

“Despite club and player reaching an agreement and their clear intention to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles,” read a statement from the club.

“Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations).”

“As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.”

“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.”

Messi played 778 games for Barcelona, scored 672 goals and won 35 titles.

The legendary number 10 holds records in La Liga for most goals, most goals in a season, most assists, most hattricks and most hatricks in a season.