Barça announces Leo Messi will not continue at the club
In an official statement, the club blames La Liga for the lack of agreement
BarcelonaBarça has announced Leo Messi will not continue at the club in an official statement, which reads: "Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi with the clear intention on both sides to sign the agreement today, it was impossible to formalise the contract fue to economic and structural obstacles [i.e. La Liga's salary cap]. Faced with this situation, Leo Messi will no longer be linked to Barça. Both sides deeply regret that the club and the players wishes have not been fulfilled. Barça wants to thank the player fullheartedly for his contribution to making this institution greater and wishes him the best in his personal life".
The radical turn of events was broken by newspaper Marca, which reported the deal between the club and the Argentine forward had fallen apart. Messi was expected to sign for five seasons at a lower salary today, with the player being presented tomorrow. An agreement had already been reached between the parties, yet the club needed to release some players in order to meet La Liga's salary cap. If in the end Messi doesn't sign, Joan Laporta's board will be looking at a major disappointment whilst also needing to look for alternatives for next season.
ARA has learnt that the reason for this change of direction in negotiations is related to the investment of the British fund CVC in La Liga, which would contribute €270m to Barça to help refinance its debt and minimise its problem with the salary cap. In spite of the fact that in a first moment Barcelona received this news with optimism, once it has seen the small print it has discovered that receiving the money would require a formal renouncement of the Super League. The project, led by Real Madrid's Florentino Perez, also counts on Laporta's support. Without this essential investment, however, the club would not be able to abide financial fair play rules nor register Messi and its new signings. The Argentine has seen this and that is why he is no longer sure about signing. He wants economic and sporting stability in order to continue his career at Camp Nou.
As reported by RAC1, this situation has penetrated the locker room, which before the match against Salzburg in Austria already knew that Messi was more out than in. If the Argentine finally does not remain in the club the sporting needs of the team coached by Ronald Koeman will change only three weeks before the transfer market closes. The role of players like Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho would also change. Without Messi around, they would have space to shine more than they have shone so far.