Lionel Messi is on the verge of reuniting
with former teammate Neymar as Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain are close to
signing the Argentine superstar. Messi’s slated contract extension at Barcelona
broke down with the club confirming they cannot afford to renew the 34-year-old’s
deal because of financial restrains from La Liga.

PSG are now close to agreeing terms with
Messi, French media outlet L’Equipe reported on Friday. Earlier in the day, manager
Mauricio Pochettino confirmed the club’s interest in the forward and said he was
an “option” that was being considered by the club, according to Reuters.

Also Read | All the facts you need to know about Lionel Messi’s legendary Barca career

Messi’s former contract with Barcelona
expired on July 1 and he has been a free agent ever since. But both the player
and the club had agreed to terms to extend the contract, with reports
suggesting only formalities remained to be completed as Messi was focussed on the
Copa America campaign with Argentina.

However, in a sensational turn of events,
Barcelona on Thursday confirmed that Messi will no longer be continuing at the
club, citing economical and structural obstacles and La Liga’s salary limit as
the main obstacles for the contract renewal.

This came after the six-time Ballon d’Or
winner had reportedly agreed to a 50% salary cut for the new,
five-year-contract that he was about to sign.

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

In a press conference on Friday, Barca president
Joan Laporta said they were forced to allow Messi to leave as his high wages and
the constraints from La Liga would have jeopardised the club’s future. He also
blamed the previous administration for the club’s financial crisis, which he
said prevented it from keeping Messi.

Saying the club and Messi did everything to
ensure the contract could have been renewed, but said it was not possible and
an investment of that size would have been a “great risk” for the club.

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

Messi had tried to leave the club in August
2020, formally requesting the club for a transfer after breaking down of relations
with former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, but Laporta had convinced him to

Messi has spent his entire professional
career at Barcelona, after joining the club’s youth ranks as a 13-year-old in 2000.
He is the club’s highest-ever goalscorer, having scored 672 goals in 778 games
across competitions.