Spain stunned as front pages reflect shock at superstar’s exit

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Lionel Messi had already received offers from other clubs after becoming a free agent and Barcelona president Joan Laporta is unwilling to offer a “false hope” of resolution.

Barca sensationally announced on Thursday that their all-time best player will not return to the club.

Messi’s contract expired at the end of last season, but a new deal was expected ahead of the new campaign, with an announcement reportedly looming this week.

The tone of reporting in Spain changed on Thursday, however, and Barca were quick to confirm they were unable to strike a deal due to “economic and structural hurdles” as no deal could fit in the La Liga wage restrictions.

Laporta faced the media on Friday and, after an opening statement in which he blamed the developments on the dire financial situation left by former President Josep Maria Bartomeu, he suggested there was no possibility of reviving the talks with Messi.

“The decision is made,” said Laporta. “It’s done.”

He explained: “I don’t want to generate false hopes. During the negotiations, we learned that the player had other offers.

“And there was a time limit – both for us, because of the start of La Liga soon, and for them too, because he needs time.

“As fair play continues to be rigid, the player also needs time to see what he is going to do, assess his situation and consider other options.

The suggestion that Messi could reduce his demands was submitted to the president, who replied: “These are all hypothetical situations. They are not real to this day.

“If I’m here today, it’s not because of what may or may not happen. I wanted to be here with Leo today. It was every Cule’s dream, but we have to live in it. the real world.

“I like to dream but we have to live in the reality that this is what is happening. I can imagine a lot of things, there are a lot of things that I would like to happen, but right now it’s not happening. is not easy. “

When asked where he wanted to see Messi play next, Laporta said: “I would love to see Leo Messi play for Barca, but everything that gets done is up to him. You have to ask him. I won’t answer that. . “

Pressed on the potential interest of Paris Saint-Germain, he added: “I don’t know, but they always say they have options.”

Barca’s salary status has restricted the registration of all new players, including Messi as a free agent.

But Laporta explained that the club’s end-of-season signings – Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, Emerson Royal and Memphis Depay – have agreed to favorable terms that Barca can accept.

“People ask, ‘Why can we sign Kun? Why can we sign Emerson? Why can we sign Memphis? ‘ Because these are players who come to Barça accepting certain conditions in terms of salary, “said Laporta.” We have to thank them for that.

“The arrival of any of these players does not compare to what it would have meant to formalize these agreements with Leo Messi in terms of fair play.”

When asked if all four players could be listed, he added: “As far as our calculations go, yes. If we had listed Messi’s earned salary, it is obviously different from the salaries we are talking about now.

“I hope there won’t be any problems because these players have made an effort.”


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