Angry Barcelona fans shouted for the resignation of the president of the club Josep Maria Bartomeu after the captain and Argentine playmaker Lionel Messi made an announcement on Tuesday that he wished to leave the Catalan club.

"We love you, Messi stay, Messi stay!" and "Bartomeu resign!" were chanted by many fans of the La Liga club outside the Cmp Nuo stadium, which is the home ground of Barcelona on Tuesday night.

The decision by the Argentine forward has thrown the club into turmoil less than two weeks after their humiliating 8-2 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich. "It's a huge outrage. I never thought this would ever happen ... you can take defeats in sports but I can't handle Messi leaving," said Oriol, 40. "We will defend him until death. He is not the one to blame. The blame is on (Barcelona's) board."

Barcelona Fans Want Messi to Stay

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi in a training session Barcelona's twitter handle

Messi, who has been named the world's best player of the year a record six times, has grown increasingly unhappy over the last 12 months on how the club is being run under Bartomeu. He criticized club officials for forcing players to take a pay cut to cope with the financial hit of the coronavirus pandemic.

Albert, 28, another disgruntled Barca fan, told Reuters while wearing a face mask: "They have been doing things badly for a long time and this guy (Messi) has got tired of not having a project, of not keeping the philosophy we used to have ... and he said enough is enough." "The only situation available right now is for him (Bartomeu) to resign."

After Barca surrendered the Spanish La Liga title to Real Madrid in July, Messi slammed the team as "weak" and "vulnerable" during an uncharacteristically fiery post-match interview. Barca are in the midst of overhauling their squad following the Champions League defeat, and some Spanish media have reported that new coach Ronald Koeman told Messi's close friend and strike partner, Luis Suarez, that he does not wish the Uruguayan to stay at the club.

(With agency inputs)