Lionel Messi is no longer an FC Barcelona player.
The Argentine legend whose contract ended in June 2021 was tipped to sign a new deal at the Camp Nou this summer, but structural and financial regulations meant that the negotiations reached a point of no return.
The Blaugrana had to unwillingly part with arguably their greatest player of all time, sending the internet into a complete meltdown.
Messi’s 21-year stay (including La Masia tenure) at the club ended in less-than-spectacular fashion, a farewell that hardly did justice to the 34-year-old and his legacy wearing Blaugrana colours.
While the internet mourned one of the most well-known ‘one-club men’ leaving the club that he was almost synonymous with, there was an ascension to the throne for the title of the longest-serving ‘one-club man’.
Messi’s departure from Barcelona meant that Mark Noble was now the longest-serving ‘one-club man’ in the top five European leagues – having played in the colours of West Ham for 16 years, making 461 appearances for the East London outfit.
The longest-serving one-club player in Europe’s top five leagues…#MrWestHam ⚒ pic.twitter.com/FXL865rHhm— West Ham United (@WestHam) August 6, 2021
Just as Messi was for Barcelona, Noble is Mr West Ham through and through, having worn claret and blue for as long as some of us can remember – and now the Englishman is a record-breaker in Europe.
Noble now tops a very decorated list of active players who have represented the same club for the entirety of their careers.
Here’s the updated list of currently active ‘one-club men’ in top 5 European leagues –
|Mark Noble||West Ham United||2005|
|Thomas Muller||Bayern Munich||2008|
|Marcel Schmelzer||Borussia Dortmund||2008|
|Tony Jantschke||Borussia Monchengladbach||2008|
|Iker Muniain||Athletic Bilbao||2009|
|Hugo Mallo||Celta Vigo||2009|
|Patrick Herrmann||Borussia Monchengladbach||2009|
|Nacho Fernandez||Real Madrid||2011|
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