Lionel Messi has been largely quiet about his future ever since he confirmed that he wanted to leave FC Barcelona last summer. It has been believed that he had changed his mind, but the club's announcement on Thursday proved that he won't be able to stay even if he wanted to. The player himself will be able to clear the air and answer some questions about his departure when he says goodbye to the fans during a press conference on Sunday at 12:00 CEST.

FC Barcelona's website confirmed that their former captain will be facing members of the media in just a few hours. It will be a rare opportunity for fans to hear the details of what transpired straight from the horse's mouth so to speak.

It was earlier believed that Messi already agreed to a contract extension, but the club was unable to balance its books in time to be able to register the new deal. The club had asked La Liga Santander for consideration, but the league was not interested in bending the rules for the Catalan giants at the expense of the other clubs.

Those who are observing the market can clearly see that Barcelona's unwillingness to let go of high earners at below-value transfer fees meant that they did not succeed in slashing their wage bill enough to accommodate Messi.

Another interesting claim suggests that the club had asked Messi to accept a 70% pay cut, much more than the previous agreement of 50%.

Fans are hoping that the six-time Ballon d'Or winner will clarify issues surrounding his departure, especially now that many club members are becoming hostile towards club president Joan Laporta. Even Antoine Griezmann, whose transfer back to Atletico Madrid failed to materialise, has been at the receiving end of abuse from fans who see him as one of the reasons why Messi was unable to re-join the club.

Emotions will most certainly run high, and after 21 years as a Barcelona player, it will be interesting to see what Messi has to say. He was reportedly eager to stay, but circumstances have led to the current situation.

Messi's wife and children had also wanted to stay in Barcelona where they have already built their lives. Now, all of them will have to be uprooted in order to relocate to the player's next destination.

It will be unlikely for Messi to disclose his plans during this press conference, but most are expecting him to sign for French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

There will be a sombre mood at the Joan Gamper Trophy which will be played against Juventus later on Sunday.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is leaving FC Barcelona AFP / JOSE JORDAN