Neymar is excited about the prospect of playing alongside Lionel Messi again as Paris Saint-Germain teased the imminent signing of the Argentina superstar on Twitter.

Messi has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with PSG after Barcelona confirmed last week they would not be able to retain the Camp Nou icon due to "financial and structural obstacles".

The French capital quickly emerged as the most likely destination for the 34-year-old, who scored 672 goals in 778 games for Barca, as well as providing 265 assists for his team-mates.

Neymar played alongside Messi in Spain and is now preparing for a reunion at PSG, the Brazilian posting a story on his Instagram account that showed footage of the pair in their Barcelona days, along with the words "back together" and a fire emoji.

Messi travelled to complete the move on Tuesday, his father Jorge confirming to La Sexta at Barcelona-El Prat Airport that he would be signing for PSG.

The player is set to have a medical upon his arrival, though his future employers could not wait to tease the announcement with a short video on social media.

Titled 'Mercato Update', the 13-second clip showed a plane in transit followed by Messi in an Argentina shirt, albeit his head was cropped out of the footage.

There was then a snapshot of pen being put to paper, followed by playing shirts belonging to Neymar – whose kit included him wearing the number 10 – and Kylian Mbappe hanging up inside the dressing room, sitting either side of another jersey that was covered up.

After landing in Paris, Messi appeared at an airport window wearing a t-shirt that read "Ici c'est Paris" ("Here is Paris") and waved to the large number of fans who had gathered to greet him upon his arrival.

Neymar and Messi won two LaLiga titles and also the 2015 Champions League final while playing alongside each other at Barca, two parts of the famous 'MSN' forward line that also included striker Luis Suarez.

Lionel Messi's imminent switch to Paris Saint-Germain has not had an impact on Cristiano Ronaldo's future with Juventus, according to team-mate Leonardo Bonucci.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi is expected to complete a move to PSG this week after bringing an end to his 21-year association with Barcelona.

French giants PSG have previously been linked with fellow superstar forward Ronaldo, who is now into the final 12 months of his contract with Juve.

With any path to the Parc des Princes now effectively being cut off by Messi's arrival, Ronaldo looks set to stay in Turin for at least the next year.

However, Bonucci insists the shock transfer involving Messi has had no bearing on where Ronaldo will play his football this coming season.

"I think that Cristiano would have stayed even if Messi had not gone to PSG," the Juve defender told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"For us, it's an added value and I'm sure that this year, more than in past years, he will help us reach all of our goals."

 

Since Ronaldo joined Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018, only Robert Lewandowski (103) has scored more goals in all competitions than the Portugal forward's 73 among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Ronaldo's 83 goal involvements over this period rank fourth behind Lewandowski (121), Messi (106) and Kylian Mbappe (97).

Despite Ronaldo enjoying another prolific season in front of goal, Juve finished fourth in Serie A in 2020-21.

And Bonucci, who played a starring role in Italy's Euro 2020 triumph, is aiming to win back the title from Inter when the new season begins in a little under two weeks' time.

"We want to bring the Scudetto back home, there is no point in hiding that," he said. 

"When you play for Juventus, that has to be the objective for the season, just like having a great Champions League campaign and fighting on all fronts.

"Personally, though, my goal is to continue my form from the Euros, where I played a major role, and do that again with Juventus."

Barcelona defender Oscar Mingueza is set to miss the start of the 2021-22 LaLiga campaign due to an injury sustained on Olympics duty with Spain.

The 22-year-old featured three times for beaten finalists Spain in Tokyo, including in their quarter-final win against Ivory Coast when damaging his hamstring.

Mingueza underwent a scan at Barcelona's medical centre on Tuesday and it was confirmed he is set for a short spell on the sidelines.

Barcelona did not provide a timeframe for Mingueza's recovery, but reports from Spain suggest that he is facing around two weeks out.

The Barca academy product made 39 appearances at club level last season, 27 of those coming in LaLiga as the Catalan giants finished behind Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Mingueza won more tackles per 90 minutes (1.56) than any Barcelona player in the league in 2020-21.

It is the latest blow for Ronald Koeman, who is having to deal with the unexpected departure of Lionel Messi and Monday's news that new striker Sergio Aguero will be out for 10 weeks with a calf injury.

Barcelona begin the post-Messi era with a home match against Real Sociedad on Sunday, before travelling to Athletic Bilbao the following weekend.

 

Real Madrid have announced legal action against LaLiga president Javier Tebas and CVC Capital Partners.

LaLiga last week secured a €2.7billion deal with CVC to boost Spanish clubs amid the coronavirus pandemic, with 90 per cent of the investment earmarked for their use.

However, CVC will have a 10 per cent stake in a new business, which is being formed with a focus on the league's commercial ventures.

It insisted the agreement does not cover league management or broadcast rights, but Madrid and rivals Barcelona both announced their opposition to the deal, claiming audiovisual rights would be affected and they had not been properly consulted.

Madrid are now going a step further, with a rumoured legal challenge confirmed in a club statement.

"The board of directors of Real Madrid, meeting today at 11:00 am, has unanimously agreed to carry out both civil and criminal legal actions against the president of LaLiga, Mr Javier Tebas Medrano, against Mr Javier de Jaime Guijarro, responsible for the CVC fund, and against the CVC Capital Partners fund itself," it said.

"Likewise, the board of directors has also decided to carry out the legal actions of all kinds that are understood to be appropriate to cancel and cancel the possible agreements adopted by the assembly of LaLiga, to be held on August 12, 2021, regarding the agreement between LaLiga and the CVC
fund."

Tebas was quick to respond on Twitter, taking aim at Madrid president Florentino Perez.

"The threatening methods that FP [Perez] has been using in private for years is now being transferred to the public," he wrote.

"Clubs and institutions have been supporting their threats for years.

"Since 2015 against the centralised sale, the constant challenges of agreements, the Super League…

"Real Madrid deserves more."

Playing behind closed doors last season, Madrid have been heavily impacted by the pandemic but have worked to limit the damage.

In their accounts last month, Madrid revealed they lost "close to €300million" in revenue, although Los Blancos reported a post-tax profit of €874,000 for 2020-21.

With "intense spending saving measures in all areas", Madrid did not make a single signing last term while moving a number of high earners off their books.

This year, they recruited David Alaba on a free transfer but saw Sergio Ramos depart and have agreed a deal to sell Raphael Varane to Manchester United.

Madrid and Barca have also continued to pursue a lucrative European Super League, as two of only three clubs – along with Juventus – still committed to the project that collapsed earlier this year.

Lionel Messi is on the brink of completing his sensational transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, according to the player's father.

Messi was expected to sign a long-anticipated new contract at Barcelona last week, only for the LaLiga giants to announce the deal could not be completed due to "financial and structural obstacles".

PSG have moved quickly to secure the 34-year-old, who is poised to form an all-star forward line alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe under head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Multiple reports in Paris suggest Messi is expected in the French capital on Tuesday, and Jorge Messi was approached by reporters at Barcelona-El Prat Airport.

Asked by La Sexta whether his son would sign for PSG, Messi Sr replied: "Yes."

A follow-up question enquiring who was responsible for Messi leaving Barcelona was met with the response: "Find out at the club."

Finally, following his tearful Sunday news conference at Camp Nou, Jorge Messi was asked whether the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was upset and retorted: "Haven't you seen him?"

Messi himself then arrived at the airport with his wife and children but did not make any comment to reporters.

Barcelona's nightmare has continued after it was confirmed Sergio Aguero is likely to be out until mid-October due to a calf injury.

Already having to contend with the unexpected departure of talisman Lionel Messi, Barca are in a dire financial situation heading into the new season.

They will now also be without one of their new arrivals for up to 10 weeks, though LaLiga's salary restrictions have meant Barca have not yet been able to register Aguero, who joined on a free transfer from Premier League champions Manchester City.

The 33-year-old left City after 10 years with the club, but his final season was hampered by injury and COVID-19 lay offs.

He managed only eight starts in 2020-21, playing 720 minutes in total across 20 appearances in all competitions.

Aguero's tally of six goals – two of which came from the penalty spot – was by far the fewest he managed for City since joining in 2011. Indeed, his previous low was 17, in the 2012-13 season.

His Barca career has now stalled before it has even started.

Reports in Spain on Monday suggested Aguero had already been expected to miss a month due to the injury, but further tests had revealed a tendon tear in his inner right calf – this was subsequently confirmed by Barca.

"Tests carried out on first-team player Kun Aguero have confirmed a right calf injury. He will be out around 10 weeks," a Barca statement read.

Aguero will miss Barca's opening nine LaLiga fixtures and at least the first two rounds of the Champions League group stage.

Reports emerged over the weekend that Aguero wished to leave Barca already, with the possibility of playing with his good friend and compatriot Messi having been a major factor in his decision to sign on at Camp Nou.

On Sunday, Aguero posted a farewell message to Messi on his official Instagram account.

"All the best in whatever comes my friend. And always with that smile. I love you," the post read.

Barca kick-off their LaLiga campaign – and the post-Messi era against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Sergio Busquets insists Barcelona are "looking to compete on all fronts" despite club legend Lionel Messi departing.

Messi was expected to sign a new contract but financial complications at Barca left the forward no option but to leave, with Busquets now assuming the captaincy role.

Prior to Sunday's Joan Gamper Trophy clash, the 33-year-old took the opportunity to reassure the Blaugrana faithful who were rocked by the news of Messi's departure on Thursday, with the Argentina international set to join Paris Saint-Germain.

"We'll do it with you [the fans]," Busquets said at the Estadi Johan Cruyff. "We need you more than ever. We need your help, your support, and we're sure you'll give it to us."

Busquets, who led the tackles and interceptions charts at Barca last term while also completing the second most passes, joins an illustrious group of players to have captained the Catalan club.

Carles Puyol, Xavi and Messi all came before the midfielder and Busquets acknowledged he must now "meet the standards" set by those club legends in a role which he is "very proud" to take.

Having made his debut four years after the Argentina captain, the Spain midfielder was also quick to pay tribute to his former team-mate, with whom he enjoyed a 14-year spell with.

"I want to give a special mention to Leo," Busquets continued. "Thank you, Leo, for taking Barca to the very pinnacle; for making history while being the best player in the world, and for beating all the individual and collective records [imaginable].

"We will always be very grateful for everything you have done. We will miss you and we wish you all the best."

While Messi, who netted 672 times in 778 appearances for the Spanish giants, edges closer to joining PSG, Barca begin their LaLiga campaign against Real Sociedad on August 15 as they begin the post-Messi era.

Ronald Koeman is excited about what the future holds for Barcelona despite the departure of superstar forward Lionel Messi.

Messi is bringing an end to his 21-year association with Barca as the Catalan giants were unable to honour the new contract agreed with him due to LaLiga's salary cap limit.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner became a free agent on July 1 and confirmed at an emotional news conference on Sunday that joining Paris Saint-Germain "is a possibility".

Barcelona will head into the new campaign without Messi for the first time since 2003-04, but Koeman is remaining upbeat regarding his side's prospects.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Joan Gamper Trophy match with Juventus at Estadi Johan Cruyff, the Dutchman said: "Despite Messi's farewell, we are excited about this season.

"With the signings made and the youngsters, who are the future of this club, we have a great squad. We are convinced we will provide the fans with many joys this season.

"With some help and sacrifice we will achieve the maximum. We know what it means to be from Barcelona and what this club represents."

 

Messi leaves a huge void for Barca to fill, the Argentina international having scored 672 goals in 778 games for the Catalans in all competitions, as well as providing 265 assists.

That amounts to 937 goal involvements during his Barca career, which began as a 17-year-old in 2004.

Among an array of other achievements and personal honours, Messi is LaLiga's all-time top scorer with 474 goals and is the second-highest scorer ever in Europe's top five leagues behind Cristiano Ronaldo (476).

Sergio Busquets, who takes over the captain's armband permanently following Messi's exit, paid his own tribute to his team-mate of 13 years.

"For me, it is an honour to be the captain of Barca, the best club in the world," he said on the pitch ahead of the Juventus match.

"I have had great examples such as [Carles] Puyol, Xavi, Andres [Iniesta] and Leo. I will try to be up to the task. 

"I want to make a special mention for Leo. Thank you for taking Barca to the top, making history, being the best in the world, breaking all individual and collective records. 

"We will miss you a lot. Eternal thanks, Leo. Now a new season begins, full of emotion, and we will fight for all the objectives together with you [the fans]. We need you more than ever."

Gareth Bale was denied from the penalty spot as Real Madrid rounded off their pre-season preparations with a goalless draw against Milan in Austria.

Handed a start by the returning ex-Rossoneri coach Carlo Ancelotti, Bale was making his first appearance for Madrid in over a year after spending last season on loan at Tottenham.

But the Wales international could not mark the occasion with a goal, Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan guessing correctly to save his 41st-minute penalty at the Worthersee Stadion.

Maignan, who arrived from Ligue 1 champions Lille last month, is expected to start the season as Milan number one following Gianluigi Donnarumma's departure for Paris Saint-Germain.

The France international would have certainly impressed Stefano Pioli with his smart saves to deny Bale and David Alaba from distance.

He then went the right way to keep out Bale from 12 yards when the forward was brought down by Davide Calabria after a surging run into the box.

The breakthrough continued to elude both sides after the break, Luka Modric going close as he rattled the crossbar from 25 yards, while Brahim Diaz stung Andriy Lunin's palms at the other end.

Madrid launch their LaLiga season away at Deportivo Alaves on August 14, the same day that Milan complete their preparations for the forthcoming Serie A campaign against Panathinaikos.

Philippe Coutinho is set to make his long-awaited return from injury in Barcelona's Joan Gamper Trophy showdown with Juventus on Sunday.

The Brazilian has been passed fit and could play his first football for Barca of 2021, having undergone two knee surgeries since the turn of the year.

The attacking midfielder last played for the Catalan giants in their 1-1 draw with Eibar at the Camp Nou in December.

Ronald Koeman has also named the likes of Memphis Depay, Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite in his 21-man party for the club's annual season curtain raiser at Estadi Johan Cruyff.

However, Sergio Aguero and Clement Lenglet are missing for Barca, who begin their LaLiga campaign at home to Real Sociedad on August 15.

Aguero, who arrived from Manchester City on a free transfer, is set to undergo further tests on a right calf injury, while defender Lenglet has a tendon problem in his right knee.

Barca are seeking their ninth successive victory in the Joan Gamper Trophy, which they have won 43 times since the inaugural event in 1966.

Juventus, who launch their Serie A season away at Udinese on August 22, are one of the 11 teams to have denied the Blaugrana.

The Bianconeri prevailed on penalties in the 2005 showpiece.

Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona. The 34-year-old superstar was expected to sign a new contract, but financial restrictions mean his 21-year stint at the club is coming to an end.

Messi, who has been a free agent since the end of June, is now set for pastures new, with Paris Saint-Germain seemingly his destination.

But before potentially linking up with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and the rest of Mauricio Pochettino's star-studded squad, Messi held a farewell news conference in Barcelona.

He was in tears as he took to the stage in front of the media, his family, club officials and his Barca team-mates, who all gave the six-time Ballon d'Or winner a standing ovation.

Here are the best quotes from Messi's Barca goodbye.

The opening statement...

"These recent days I've been giving lots of thought to what I could say, and the truth is that I can't think of anything. This is really difficult for me after so many years, being here my entire life, I'm not ready for this and honestly last year with all the nonsense with the burofax I was convinced I knew what I wanted to say but this year is not the same.

On making Barcelona his home...

"My family and I were convinced I wanted to stay here, that's what we all wanted more than anything. We thought we'd be staying here in Barcelona, today I have to say goodbye to all of this. I've been here so many years, my entire life since I was 13. After 21 years I'm leaving with my wife, my three little Catalan-Argentine kids, and I can't tell you we won't come back because this is my home, and I promised my children that.

His final farewell...

"I gave everything for this club for this shirt. I'm so grateful for the care that people have shown me. I've never imagined having to say goodbye because I never thought of it. I never imagined it this way. I imagined it with people in this pitch. I leave this club without seeing the fans for a year and a half. If I'd imagined it I'd imagined it with the Camp Nou full and being able to say goodbye properly."

On his favourite Barca memory...

"It is really difficult to choose just one moment. A lot of things I've lived, good things and bad things. Maybe the time when I made my debut. That was my dream come true and everything that came later was amazing, but I'll always remember that moment that everything started."

Where to next?

"When the press release was published, I had a lot of calls, a lot of clubs that were interested. At the minute, I've not got anything closed but we're talking about a lot of things."

Facing Barca with his next club?

"The people in Barca know me, they know I'm a good player and they know I like competing. If I'm going to come here, then like I did here I'll fight to win everything. The last years of my career I'll finish it in my way, competing and fighting for titles, ending my career on a high."

On doing everything to stay...

"What's clear is that I did everything possible, they couldn't do it because of LaLiga. We did everything we could because I wanted to stay. Last year, I didn't want to stay and I said it. This year, I wanted to stay and I couldn't. Everything was arranged with Laporta and the club, but it wasn't possible in the end and that's all there is to it.  A lot was said and from my part, I wanted to stay as well, but it just couldn't be done because of things to do with LaLiga."

On media speculation...

"I offered to reduce my contract, my salary by 50 per cent and they didn't ask for anything else. The news that I asked for 30 per cent more is a lie. I did everything possible, we did everything possible. A lot of what people are saying is not true and like I said, I did everything."

How will Barca look post-Messi?

"Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world, they have an amazing line-up. A lot of players will come and go, and like [club president] Joan Laporta said, this club is more important than any one person. People will get used to it, at first it will be weird but like everything, people will get used to it. They have great players, a great squad and in the end, it will be easy for them."

Any regrets?

"I would have liked to have won another Champions League. We got to the semi-final [in 2019] and were knocked out by Liverpool. That's football. But I don't regret anything. I tried to give my best, sometimes it works out for the better or worst. I'm of the opinion we could have won more, but I achieved my objectives. It's always nice to win more titles but I'm ending my career here with all these titles."

Lionel Messi says he did everything he could to extend his stay with Barcelona but claimed it was just not possible due to LaLiga rules.

Messi, whose contract expired at the end of last season, was set to sign a new deal at Camp Nou, reportedly agreeing to a 50 per cent wage cut with club president Joan Laporta.

However, the Catalan giants announced on Thursday that they were unable to reach an agreement with the 34-year-old due to "financial and structural obstacles."

An emotional Messi addressed the world at a news conference on Sunday, in front of the media, his family, Barca team-mates and club officials.

"What's clear is that I did everything possible, they couldn't do it because of LaLiga," he said.

"We did everything we could because I wanted to stay.

"Last year, I didn't want to stay and I said it. This year, I wanted to stay and I couldn't.

"Everything was arranged with Laporta and the club, but it wasn't possible in the end and that's all there is to it. 

“A lot was said and from my part, I wanted to stay as well, but it just couldn't be done because of things to do with LaLiga."

The announcement that Messi would leave Barcelona sent shockwaves around the globe, while he has received many messages of support from current and ex-team-mates.

The Blaugrana will prepare for life without him for the first time since his senior debut for the club during the 2004-05 season. 

But the Argentine, who scored a staggering 672 goals in all competitions, says that people will get used to the thought of him no longer strolling the Camp Nou turf.

"Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world, they have an amazing line-up," he added.

"A lot of players will come and go, and like Joan Laporta said, this club is more important than any one person.

"People will get used to it, at first it will be weird but like everything, people will get used to it.

"They have great players, a great squad and in the end, it will be easy for them."

Lionel Messi confirmed he could join Paris Saint-Germain after his reluctant departure from Barcelona.

The 34-year-old Argentine superstar is a free agent after his contract at Camp Nou expired.

Barcelona have said they were unable to extend his deal due to financial constraints, and it means their record scorer, who has made more appearances for the club than any other player, must walk away.

That announcement first came in a club statement on Thursday evening, with sending shockwaves through the game.

He could head straight into the arms of French champions PSG, joining former Barcelona team-mate Neymar amid a squad of superstars at the Parc des Princes.

Asked about possibly joining the Parisians, Messi said in a news conference on Sunday: "That's honestly one possibility, to reach those heights. At the minute I've got nothing confirmed with anybody."

According to Messi, there has been interest from a host of clubs in signing him.

He did not mention any potential suitors, and only the richest clubs in the game are likely to be able to afford to acquire him, given his high wages.

"When the press release was published, I had a lot of calls, a lot of clubs that were interested," Messi said.

"At the minute, I've not got anything closed but we're talking about a lot of things."

Asked about the possibility of facing Barcelona with his next club, he added: "The people in Barca know me, they know I’m a good player and they know I like competing.

"If I'm going to come here, then like I did here I'll fight to win everything. The last years of my career I'll finish it in my way, competing and fighting for titles, ending my career on a high."

Messi said it was a horrifying moment personally when he was told his time was up at Barcelona.

"My blood ran cold because it was really sad, really difficult. Right until now we're still trying to process it all. When I'm going to go home I'm going to still feel pretty bad about the whole thing," Messi said.

"But the important thing is we're still okay, my family and my loved ones. And that I get to keep playing football. I'm sure now it's going to be a bit difficult but we need to move on."

Reports in France have claimed Messi will fly to Paris on Sunday, suggesting PSG will be his likely next club.

After 20 years in Spain, such a move will be a wrench for a player who has made the Catalan region his home.

Messi said: "I've still not quite come to terms with the reality of leaving this club and changing my life completely. Now we're going to change again, it's going to be a difficult change, especially for my family, but I know that we're going to be okay. We need to accept it, take it on and move forward."

Ronald Koeman proclaimed Lionel Messi to be the "best player in the world" after it was confirmed the Barcelona legend will be leaving the club.

Messi enjoyed an outstanding career at Camp Nou, scoring 672 times in 778 appearances, but his time with the LaLiga giants ended abruptly this week due to Barca's dire financial situation.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner was expected to sign a new contract, having become a free agent on July 1, before Thursday's announcement shocked the football world.

Koeman, who managed the forward during the 2020-21 campaign, joined a host of football's big names in paying tribute to Messi.

"Still hard to understand that you will not play for [Barcelona] anymore," the head coach wrote on Instagram. "Thanks for everything you have done for our club. I really enjoyed the full season we worked together.

"I am impressed with your work ethic and desire to win. It makes you the best player in the world. For now, I wish you and your family the best!"

With Messi expected to move to Paris Saint-Germain, Koeman must prepare for life without the four-time Champions League winner.

Memphis Depay and Antoine Griezmann will have incredibly large shoes to fill in the 2021-22 campaign, while Barca players past and present used social media to praise their former team-mate.

Gerard Pique, who won the treble with Messi in his first season back at the Catalan club, posted on Instagram that "nothing will ever be the same again" following the end of an era.

"Now you are leaving, but I know that one day you will come back," the centre-back continued. "There are pending things to do. Have fun, enjoy wherever you go and keep winning as only you know how to do. Here we will miss you. I love you Leo."

Luis Suarez, formerly part of the formidable trio with Messi and Neymar, pipped Barca to the title with Atletico Madrid last term but he too revealed his admiration for the "best player ever".

"I will always be grateful for how you received me since I arrived because of what a great human being you are," Suarez wrote.

"Proud to have shared thousands of wonderful moments at [Barcelona] and to be lucky to have played with you. I sincerely hope that what happens in the future is the best for you and your family. I love you so much."

Despite only playing for two campaigns with Messi, Barca youngster Ansu Fati used his Instagram account to say farewell to his captain.

"All the boys who come to the Masia dream of being able to play with you, I feel lucky to have fulfilled it," Fati posted. "I wanted to thank you these two years for your gestures of affection towards me and for everything I learned.

"[Messi] my family and I will always be eternally grateful, I wish you and yours all the best."

Lionel Messi will appear at a news conference at Camp Nou on Sunday, Barcelona have announced.

The Argentine forward is widely expected to join Paris Saint-Germain in the coming days after Barcelona said they could not afford to retain him.

That means Messi, 34, is likely to share his perspective of the departure that has stunned world football.

His contact expired at the end of June and both parties had agreed fresh terms, only for Barcelona to announce the bombshell news on Thursday that they could not proceed due to "financial and structural obstacles".

The club's all-time record scorer, who has made more appearances for Barcelona than any other player, recently won the Copa America with Argentina.

He landed the Copa del Rey with Barcelona last season, adding to an array of trophies. During his time at Barcelona, the only club of his professional career, Messi has helped the team win 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues, while he has been awarded the Ballon d'Or a record six times.

Barcelona said Messi would address media in the Auditori 1899, a large function room at the stadium, at 12:00 local time on Sunday.

The club added: "On Thursday 5 August, it was announced that the Argentine star will not be staying at FC Barcelona, where he has set club records for appearances, goals and official titles."

There has been no indication of a change in Barcelona's stance, with seemingly little prospect of a U-turn.

Barcelona's announcement of Messi's departure stated it was a move that "both parties deeply regret", with the club citing "Spanish LaLiga regulations on player registration" as preventing them from handing him a new contract.

Like many clubs, Barcelona have been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, while heavy spending on players in recent seasons has largely not paid off, with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid winning the most recent two LaLiga titles. 

What Messi has to say about the recent chain of events is keenly awaited.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said on Friday: "There was a moment when La Liga insinuated to us that the proposed contract could suffice, but after a technical analysis by its financial commission, they then informed us that wouldn't fully suffice either."

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