Lionel Messi got emotional at his last press conference as a player of Barcelona. Since his senior debut in 2003, Messi played around 778 games and scored 672 goals for the Catalan club. He claimed that he wanted to remain at the club and also accepted a 50% salary in the new contract. However, Barcelona could not afford Messi even at the cut price. Messi has spent more than two decades at Barcelona and is one of the prominent players.
There were many brinkmanship attempts when things went bad on the pitch, like a call to leave Barcelona ahead of the 2020-21 season. Messi shared a bitter relationship with the club president Josep Bartomeu. But when Josep got replaced by Joan Laporta, Messi committed his complete future to Barcelona. But things changed, and he has to leave. By July 1, Messi was a free agent, and a new contract was formalized. He said that they had everything planned and agreed, but at the last minute, everything changed. This year he wanted to stay, but he could not.
Barcelona’s Statement on the Exit of Messi
On August 5, Barcelona declared that Messi would not be in the club anymore. After that day, Laporta said that Lionel wanted to stay and even the club wanted him to remain there, but it was not possible. The club also wanted to extend the contract of Messi by two years. However, Laliga FFP or Financial Fair Play rules prevented it from happening. According to the rules, the wage-to-turnover percentage of Barcelona has to be around 70 percent.
With Messi, the wage-to-turnover percentage of the club was 110 percent. Without him, it goes around 95 percent, which was above the FFP cut-off mark. As per the financial report, the debt exceeded over GBP 1 billion that includes money borrowed for Frenkie de Jong and Philippe Coutinho. For the first time, the bill reached around GBP 235 million.
Laporta said he wanted to explain that they have received an immense inheritance from the earlier board, and there is no further room to maneuver as the FFP rules mark certain limits. They have to accept the agreement.
Messi has been the most lucrative player of the Spanish league and also in terms of TV rights and commercial deals. As per some experts, this could be tactics from Barca to pressure LaLiga to adulterate its FFP rules. Even Real Madrid released a statement and attacked LaLiga following Messi’s exit confirmation news from Barcelona.