FIFA, the world football governing body, has reacted to the departure of Lionel Messi from Barcelona, saying what the Argentine did for the La Liga club “was utterly mind-blowing.”
Barcelona announced Messi’s departure on Thursday after both parties had initially agreed to sign a new contract.
However, the 34-year-old who scored 672 goals in 778 appearances for Barcelona could not sign the contract due to La Liga regulations.
A statement on the club’s website read, “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.”
Reacting, FIFA tweeted, “Has one man ever done more for one club?
“Man superhero Leo, what you did for Barça was utterly mind-blowing.”