• Soccer's greatest player Lionel Messi is now a free agent after his FC Barcelona contract expired.
  • A Spanish football show reacted to the news by having a huge timer counting down to midnight.
  • While he is yet to sign a new deal, it is widely expected that Messi will stay with Barcelona.
  • For more stories go to

Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player in soccer history, is now a free agent after his contract with the Spanish giant FC Barcelona expired.

The 34-year-old Messi has been at Barcelona since he was 12 when he was signed to the club on the back of a napkin, but this time last year he was itching for a move away having become frustrated with the then club president Josep Bartomeu. A year later, a new president has been elected but Messi has yet to sign an extension and as of July 1, he is free to sign with whichever club he pleases.

Spanish football show El Chiringuito, known for its theatrics, reacted to the news by having its host, Josep Pedrerol, sit in front of a huge timer counting down to midnight and the minute Messi's contract expired.

As the timer approached zero, the studio lights dimmed leaving Pedrerol sitting in the dark until, like a countdown on New Year's Eve, the clock hit zero and the giant screen behind the host flashed red and lights flickered on and off around him.

After this dramatic introduction, Pedrerol announced that Messi is no longer a Barcelona player.

It is not the first time the show has reacted dramatically to seemingly undramatic news.

When Chelsea knocked out Real Madrid in the semifinal of last season's UEFA Champions League, El Chiringuito opened its show with a picture of Eden Hazard, once a Chelsea player now playing for Madrid, smiling with his old teammates.

On that occasion, Pedrerol called Hazard "overweight" and said he had "taken the p**s out of Madrid supporters."

While Messi is now a free agent, it is widely expected that he will re-sign with Barcelona at some point before the new season begins

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano reported last week that Messi and Barcelona were working on the "final details" of a new two-year deal, with the club "confident" that it will be able to officially announce the agreement soon.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague also spoke about a possible deal last week, saying that it was still some way from being completed.

Messi is currently in South America, playing for Argentina in the Copa America. On Monday he scored twice in a group game against Bolivia, taking his side into a quarterfinal against Ecuador on Saturday, July 3.

Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.