Lionel Messi has been left 'shocked' and 'dejected' by Barcelona's inability to renew his contract.
Messi - who became a free agent last month after his original contract with Barca expired - believed a long-term deal, albeit on lower pay terms, had been agreed and that he would meet up with his teammates to resume training on Friday.
However, the Catalan giants shared a bombshell statement on Thursday evening saying the 34-year-old would not be staying at the club due to financial restrictions placed upon them by LaLiga.
Messi was set to re-sign a new contract with Barcelona following positive initial talks between all parties involved.
The forward was prepared to take a 50 per cent pay deduction from his previous deal - which was worth more than £425million over four years - to adhere to LaLiga's financial fair play rules.
This would have seen Messi's earnings slashed by £250,000-a-week on the proposed new five-year contract. However, the 34-year-old was said to be happy to take the hit if it meant he was able to re-register as a Barcelona player with LaLiga.
Following Messi's decision, his father, Jorge, travelled to Barcelona to meet with the club's officials to close the deal and sign the new contract.
Therefore, Messi and his father were left to believe that the economic side of the deal was complete and that they were just waiting on the board to decide how they wanted to announce the news.
As a result, Jorge was left shocked when Barcelona President Joan Laporta said that the club was not in a position to register the Argentine due to the salary limit imposed by LaLiga.
According to Diario SPORT, such a decision has 'emotionally destroyed' Messi as he did 'not expect it at all'.
Barcelona issued the shocking statement on Thursday evening, saying: 'Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations).
'Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the Club cannot finally be fulfilled.
'Barca would like to thank with all its heart the player's contribution to the enhancement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life.'
Following their announcement, Barcelona also released an emotional seven-minute video featuring the best clips of Messi during his time with the Catalan giants.
The video, titled 'The ultimate best of Messi', features a montage piecing together the best goals and moments from the Argentine's 21 years at the Nou Camp.
The clip, shared on Barcelona's Twitter page, was captioned 'thank you Leo' as they paid tribute to his phenomenal career and contribution to the club.
The video shared footage of Messi in 2000 when he joined the club's famous La Masia academy from Argentine side Newell's Old Boys at just 13 years old.
It also showed his senior debut in 2004 at just 16 years old and many of the 778 appearances he made for the club in his 21-year-career.
During Messi's time at the club, he became Barcelona's record scorer with 672 goals including 120 Champions League goals and a record 474 LaLiga goals.
He also managed 10 LaLiga titles, four Champions Leagues and seven Copa del Reys.
Messi's contribution also saw him claim the European Golden Shoe award for the continent's top scorer on six occasions.
As a result of his success with Barcelona, Messi has become one of the most highly sought after players in the world.
Subsequently, Messi has been heavily linked with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.
City boss Pep Guardiola has made no secret of his desire to be reunited with his former Barcelona team-mate. While Mauricio Pochettino is eager to create an incredible front-line of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
However, PSG appear to be leading the charge for Messi as reports claim the 34-year-old is already negotiating directly with the French side and that the pair are trying to make a financial settlement.
It is believed that Neymar was crucial in reaching out to the Barcelona superstar - having met up with his former team-mate and close friend just days before the shock announcement.
Neymar left Barca for PSG in 2017 and has spoken frequently about his desire to play with the Argentine again one day.
He even uploaded an image to social media, showing himself with Messi along with PSG trio Angel Di Maria, Leo Parades and Marco Veratti, with the caption: 'amigos.'
Neymar went on to add more smoke to the fire by liking a picture of himself and Messi dressed in PSG shirts just moments after the Argentine's departure from Barca was announced.
The image has now sent the rumour mill into overdrive, with many fans believing Messi has been talked around by the PSG cohort into swapping Catalonia for Paris.
Such a move would be a blow to Barcelona - who have no say in stopping Messi from joining a major European rival this summer.
Barcelona's decision to part ways with Messi will also affect other transfer deals - including that of Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
Kane has been continuously linked with a move to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City and it was a believed a deal was close to being completed after the England captain failed to report to pre-season training at Spurs.
However, Messi's situation at Barcelona may throw a spanner in the works as City were eager to sign the Argentine playmaker last summer and even prioritised him over Kane.
Therefore, City may look to sign Messi on a free transfer and save the £130million they were going to spend on the Tottenham-man instead.
While other famous faces including Gary Lineker have flagged their concern for LaLiga following Messi's departure.
Lineker took to Twitter to say: 'How on earth have they got themselves in to this predicament? Mess que un club.'
Lineker also responded to a Tweet which read: 'I don’t see Messi leaving Barca. It’s all in the statement. Player and Club reached an agreement but ‘Spanish Liga regulations’ means there are obstacles. Over to you LaLiga if you want to have the best player in the world still in this league.'
The BBC pundit agreed with such a statement and replied saying: 'Could be a lot of truth in this. Tens of millions around the world watch and are interested in LaLiga (not all of them obviously) because of #Messi.'