Barcelona says Messi won't stay with the club

Barcelona announced Thursday that Messi will not stay with the club, saying that the Spanish league's financial regulations made it impossible to sign the Argentina star to a new contract. He is leaving after 17 successful seasons in which he propelled the Catalan club to glory, helping it win numerous domestic and international titles since debuting as a teenager.

Barcelona said in a statement that a deal for a new contract had been reached but financial 'obstacles' made it impossible for the player to remain with 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,' the club said.

It blamed 'Spanish league regulations' for not allowing the club to sign a new contract with the player. His previous one had ended on June 30. 'As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona,' it said. 'Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.