’s over 21-year association with FC Barcelona has come to an end in abrupt and
heartbreaking fashion, with the club having confirmed on Thursday that they will
be unable to renew the Argentine forward’s contract due to financial restrains
from La Liga.

The club’s talisman over the years spoke to the press on Sunday and eventually cried saying he is not ready to leave. 

Messi has
spent an entire lifetime with the Catalans, joining the club at the age of 13
and going on to make the most appearances, becoming their top goal-scorer, assist-maker,
and also, perhaps, their greatest-ever player.

Also read: Barcelona, Ronald Koeman hoping to ‘turn the page’ after Lionel Messi’s departure

Here is everything
you need to know about his career with Barcelona:

1. Joined
Barca’s famed academy La Masia as a 13-year-old in and made an instant
impression in 2000. The club was so desperate to tie him down, that they made him sign
his first contract whatever was available at the moment – a piece of napkin.

2. Made his
senior debut for the club under manager Frank Rijkaard in a friendly against
Porto in 2003. Made his La Liga debut in October, 2004 and scored his first
goal in May, 2005 against Albaceleste at the Camp Nou.

3. Scored 6
goals in 17 games for Barca in the 2005-2006 season, winning the La Liga for
the second year running. Did not feature in the Champions League final win over

Also Read | End of an era: Messi leaves Barcelona, social media in dismay

4. Messi was
key as Barca won six trophies in 2009 under Pep Guardiola, including the treble
of La Liga, Champions League and the Copa del Rey. Won the first of his four
consecutive Ballon d’Ors that year.

5. Won the
La Liga again in 2010, and beat teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta to the Ballon

6. Scored in
the 2011 Champions League final against Manchester United, in the 4-0 win over
Santos in the Club World Cup, and helped Barca to the La Liga title in that

7. Overtook
Ceasr Rodriguez as the club’s all-time top-scorer in the 2011-12 season at the
age of 24, and finished the calendar year of 2012 with a total of 91 goals in
all competition, including a record 50 goals in the La Liga season.

Also Read | Memphis Depay announces his Barcelona arrival with brilliant goal | Watch

8. Broke
the record of most Champions League goals, of 71 set by Real Madrid’s Raul
Gonzales, scoring twice in a game against Ajax in 2014.

9. Was instrumental
in a number of key wins as Barca won an unprecedented second treble in the 2014-15
season with Messi lifting his fifth Ballon d’Or. Also became La Liga’s all-time

10. Was
named the club’s first captain after the departure of Andres Iniesta in 2018.
Led the club to a league double of La Liga and Copa del Rey, but was eliminated
from the Champions League semis by Liverpool.

Also read: Barcelona start Messi-less era with victory against Juventus in pre-season

11. Won a
record sixth Ballon d’Or in 2019.

Attempted to leave the club in the summer of 2020, making a formal request to
leave after breaking down of relations with the club’s then-president Josep

13. Overtook
Pele as the highest goal-scorer for a single club, with his 644th goal
for Barcelona in a La Liga match against Real Valladolid in December, 2020.

14. Ended
the 2020-21 season with a Copa de Rey winner’s medal, but finished third in La
Liga and was eliminated in the Champions League round of 16. Ended the season having
scored 672 goals for the club in 778 appearances and winning 35 trophies, including 10 La Liga and four Champions League titles.