Argentina captain will not sign a new contract

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Barcelona have announced that Lionel Messi will not return to the club after financial problems prevented him from agreeing with the striker on a new contract.

Messi, 34, has been a free agent since his previous terms expired on June 30, but ESPN revealed in July that a vague agreement on a five-year extension had been reached.

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However, Barca have been unable to register Messi’s new La Liga contract while respecting the league’s financial fair play rules. President Joan Laporta will address the situation at a press conference on Friday morning.

Barcelona said in a statement: “Although they have reached a deal with Messi and both sides clearly want to sign a new contract, it cannot be finalized due to financial and structural issues [rules relating to the Spanish league].

“Given this situation, Messi will not continue his relationship with Barcelona. Both sides deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club cannot be fulfilled.

“Barça would like to wholeheartedly thank the player for his contribution to the growth of the institution and wish him the best in his personal and professional life.”

Paris Saint-Germain sources have told ESPN’s Julien Laurens that they remain convinced the club will still be able to confirm a deal for Messi if he does not sign a new deal with Barcelona – but they are skeptical of the idea of ​​that happening, believing that the latest decision to be a bluff meant to keep him at Camp Nou. Sources said Messi’s side made contact with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo after Barca’s announcement on Thursday.

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Shaka Hislop and Craig Burley discuss the news of Lionel Messi’s departure from FC Barcelona.

PSG representatives worked for weeks to negotiate a transfer for Messi which would also see Neymar and Kylian Mbappe stay in Paris, but sources told ESPN that previously the club never thought it was a deal. which could realistically be concluded, with Messi still supposed to stay at Barcelona.

It is not clear whether Manchester City, meanwhile, would enter the tender. The Premier League champions wanted Messi last summer but signed Jack Grealish on Thursday for £ 100million and sources close to the club made conflicting comments when approached by ESPN. Some have completely excluded it; others left it in the air.

Spanish clubs must comply with a spending limit, which includes money spent on salaries and signings, determined by La Liga.

Barca’s spending was over € 600m before the coronavirus pandemic, but was reduced to € 347m last season and is expected to be further reduced for the next campaign.

Therefore, to save Messi’s new contract with the league, the Catalan club had to cut their payroll or bring in a significant amount of money in transfers.

However, the club have failed to deal with big payrolls such as Miralem Pjanic, Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti and have so far failed to reach an agreement with some of the club’s oldest players. on salary cuts.

Discussions are ongoing with Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto regarding the salary adjustments.

Messi tried to leave Barca last summer after falling out with president Josep Maria Bartomeu, but ended up staying against his will. He believed that a clause in his contract allowed him to leave for free, but Barca said that was not the case. With the prospect of a legal battle on the horizon, Messi backed down.

The election of Laporta as Bartomeu’s successor in March seemed to be a game-changer. Messi and his family are close to Laporta, who was president when Messi broke into the club’s first team.

Laporta has always said he was “confident” to reach an agreement for Messi to stay at the club and that the key was to build a sporting project that would guarantee him success on the pitch.

However, sources told ESPN that Messi was not convinced by the work done in the transfer market this summer, with another adding that there was also a disagreement over the distribution of commission payments involved in the new contract. offers.

Messi’s departure is a historic moment for the club. He first joined Barca’s academy in 2000 and played 778 games for the club, breaking Xavi Hernandez’s record for appearing last season.

He scored 672 goals, another club record, and helped Barca win, among other trophies, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions.

In the process, Messi has won the Ballon d’Or six times and is among those considered the greatest to play the game.



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