The moment of truth has finally arrived. To the immense disappointment of FC Barcelona fans, the club confirmed on Thursday that their club captain, Lionel Messi, will not be able to continue with the club.

Barcelona shared the official announcement on their website, stating: "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 Spanish LaLiga regulations on player registration."

ℹ️ FC Barcelona official statement

— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 5, 2021

It was reported three weeks ago that Messi and the club had agreed to the terms of a contract extension while the player was still in Brazil representing Argentina for the Copa America. Barcelona president Joan Laporta then confirmed that the contract can't be signed at that time because the club was still trying to find a way to get within the allowable salary cap as per La Liga's rules.

Upon his return to Barcelona on Wednesday, it was widely expected that his contract extension will be signed and announced as soon as possible. However, the outcome was the complete opposite.

"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," the statement further read.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner is now being linked with a move to French giants Paris Saint-Germain, where he may finally be reunited with former Barcelona teammate Neymar Jr. Other PSG players had been vocal about their desire to play with the Argentine ever since he declared last summer that he wanted to leave the Catalan giants.

The past season has apparently convinced Messi to stay, but the club's dire financial situation simply made it impossible.

"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,"

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi could not prevent Barcelona drawing away at Levante on Tuesday. AFP / JOSE JORDAN