The football world is quaking tonight under the seismic news that Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona.
With a contract all but signed between the two parties today, Barcelona were expected to announce that their superstar would be staying on for a further five years with his beloved boyhood club.
However, the talks turned sour this afternoon as they reached an impassable stalemate, culminating in the club publishing a statement that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has played his last game in Catalonia.
The stunning news came completely out of the blue, leaving a shell-shocked football world in its wake.
It is hard to remember what the world was like before Messi became a superstar at Barcelona and, in fact, for many young fans, it will be the only thing they have ever known.
Never in the history of the game has a man been more made for a club than Messi was for Barca.
With that famous badge on his chest, Messi conquered Spain, then he conquered Europe and then, no less than six times, he conquered every other player on the planet.
He was an absolute goal machine who, week after week, tormented defenders across the continent, redefining what we understood the beautiful game to be.
There are few greater sights in football than Messi in full flow but, sadly, for the remainder of his career, he won’t be flowing in the colours of Barcelona.
And, while they thought bears not thinking about, we can look back on an era that blessed us with some of the greatest jaw dropping the moments the game has ever seen.
It is hard to truly encapsulate what Messi was like at Barcelona but a video has emerged on social media in the aftermath of the bombshell news that comes close.
Titled, “Lionel Messi: The Story”, the video follows Messi career from the moment he signed with Barca, at the age of 12, to the heady heights of today, where he is largely considered the greatest player to have ever lived.
Pictures do some much more justice than words ever could.
Messi was made for Barca, and Barca made for Messi.
Now, uncertainty reins like a maelstrom over the career of Messi and where he ends up now is anyone’s guess.
You can be certain the bookies will be inundated with a deluge of bets trying to pick his next home but, for now, perhaps it is best to sit back and remember a truly unforgettable era.