By Isaac Akugizibwe
Millions of Spanish football side F.C Barcelona’s fans around the world have been left dumbfounded by the shocking revelation by the club that their greatest football player in history Lionel Messi would not be re-signing with the club due to financial restrictions.
The Spanish Football Federation set stringent financial guidelines for all Spanish teams after the league took a severe financial hit from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but even then, it was thought that all efforts would be made to re-sign Messi, whose contract with the club had expired on June 30.
The 34-year old had agreed to have his salary reduced by 50 percent to stay at Camp Nou for five more years but the club board announced on August 5 that they were unable to finance the new contract.
And after 18 years at the club, the famous La Masia academy graduate and six-time Ballon d'or winner is now hunting for a new club, a revelation that has left many fans gutted.
Scores of fans paid their tributes outside the club’s stadium, Camp Nou with some seen holding the iconic number 10 shirt worn by the Argentine and weeping at the sudden realization that he won’t don the club colours again.
Muhammad Ali Khan, a student of Masters in Human Rights and a Barcelona fan told this website that the club will surely miss the services Leo, as he was fondly known.
"Messi is our greatest player and I will surely tell you, Barcelona will never be the same without him," said Muhammad.
Ibrahim Ruhweza, a former Mass communication student at KIU and an inspirational writer, said Messi's departure from Barcelona won't only lead to the fall of Barcelona but also the appeal of the Spanish football league to fans around the world.
"To me Messi holds the last rags of Laliga prestige. His departure means the end of that prestige and maybe the fall of Barcelona," Ruhweza said.