It's been the worst kept secret in football for the past few months, but now it's official: Lionel Messi is leaving Paris Saint-Germain.
The Argentine magician has experienced mixed fortunes in the French capital since his departure from Barcelona in the summer of 2021, with two domestic league titles matched by disappointing underperformance for the team in the Champions League.
The news of his departure was confirmed on Thursday by manager Christophe Galtier, who said that Saturday's home game against Clermont will be Messi's last for PSG.
With arguably the greatest footballer of all time now a free agent for the summer ahead, many of the world's biggest clubs will be sitting up and taking interest?
We've taken a look at five of the most likely destinations for Messi this summer.
Lionel Messi: Five options for the Argentinean's next club?
A return to Barcelona for Messi?
The romantic option and, if we're talking about what Lionel Messi himself likely wants, the ideal option.
Barcelona is the club at which Messi spent almost his entire career, winning everything there was to win in the game and establishing himself as the best player in the world, before his departure under a cloud in the summer of 2021 with the club in financial turmoil.
Ever since his departure, he and the club have flirted with the prospect of a return, and they are currently best placed of any European club to convince Messi to join. Whether they can afford him is a different matter.
Another destination Messi has been heavily linked with in recent months is Inter Miami.
The American club, co-owned by David Beckham and managed by his ex-Manchester United teammate Phil Neville, are struggling in the MLS, rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Some sources have suggested that, with a view to finishing his career in the MLS, Messi could sign on with big-money Inter Miami and be loaned back to Barcelona for the foreseeable future. If he does end up Stateside, Miami is likely to be the location.
Saudi Arabian Premier League
Next stop: Saudi Arabia? 🇸🇦
Lionel Messi is expected to decide in the coming hours where he will be playing his football next season 👀 pic.twitter.com/D9mNehlvJ7
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 31, 2023
Sadly, this seems like the most likely place that Lionel Messi will end up.
It is unclear which club Messi would join but, given his links to the Saudi Arabian government's tourism industry, and their 2030 World Cup bid, a big-money move to the Gulf is looking like it's on the cards.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague suggested on Wednesday that Saudi Arabian government officials are expecting Messi's arrival, and that Al-Hilal would be a possible destination.
Messi and PSG played a friendly against a Saudi league XI in January, reuniting him with old foe and friend Cristiano Ronaldo. It would be a sad end to their epic rivalry if both players saw out their careers together in the Saudi league.
An alternative to the Saudi league which would also be possible, given Newcastle's contentious ownership by the Public Investment Fund.
After two transfer windows in which Newcastle bought smart to make the most of their newfound wealth, they will now be excited to try to attract some of the world's biggest players - and, with no transfer fee attached, they would be among the most likely clubs in the world to be capable of handling Lionel Messi's wages.
With Champions League football secured, Newcastle could be an attractive location for Lionel Messi.
A reunion with Pep Guardiola, at the most dominant club in European football, alongside the best young striker on the continent, playing alongside Kevin de Bruyne and other immense creative talents, with a hefty payday to boot?
We'd hazard a guess that this wouldn't take much convincing for Lionel Messi - the only question is whether Manchester City are interested in taking him, having missed out on the Argentine when he left Barcelona in 2021.
Other potential locations
There are several other major clubs in Europe who may take a punt on Lionel Messi this summer. Napoli would be another romantic option, given their recent resurgence and links to Diego Maradona, while Bayern Munich are on the lookout for a new superstar after the departures of Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mané.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Chelsea could be an option, though the presence of ex-PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino could be an issue. Meanwhile, Manchester United would be capable of affording Messi's wages, but may have learned from their mistake in re-signing Ronaldo in 2021.
The final likely option for Messi is a return home to Argentina to play with Newell's Old Boys - but that's probably not going to happen this early in his twilight years.