Barcelona President Joan Laporta held a press conference today to answer all questions pertaining to the end of contract talks with Argentine superstar Lionel Messi. In the press conference Laporta stated that two factors are what is impeding Lionel Messi from resigning with Barcelona.
Those factors can best be summed up by the dire financial situation in which Laporta inherited the club, which is reported to have lost over 1 billion euros over the last 3 years. The second is La Liga’s salary cap structure which is blocking the deal since Barcelona is over the allowed spending limit.
Another factor that is coming into play is the proposed sale of 10% of La Liga’s business to the investment fund CVC Capital Partners. The deal would see an increase revenue for all teams in La Liga, but Real Madrid and Barcelona are radically opposed to accepting. According to Laporta, accepting that deal to keep Messi would have been problematic for Barcelona in the coming years. So, Messi is once again in the middle of Barcelona’s poor spending and corporate war play, nonetheless Messi can still suit up again for Barcelona if La Liga approves of the deal.
How can Messi still play for Barcelona?
It all comes down to numbers, basically Lionel Messi accepted his new five-year deal at a “reduced salary” which would have seen him be paid via other means such as club ambassador. The player and the club were still negotiating some personal terms in the way of commissions, but it seemed that all was needed was pen to paper.
Then La Liga intervene stating that Barcelona could not re-sign Messi due to the club still being over their allotted spending limit. Barcelona is over by €347 million and is expected to make more cuts to alleviate their financial situation.
While Laporta made it clear that the negotiations with Messi have stopped: "The negotiations with Messi have ended and it's brought us here without an agreement because of the salary limit. Leo wanted to stay, so he's not happy. We all wanted him to stay, but now, like us, he is facing the reality of what's happened. A reality that can't be changed."
All fingers point to La Liga and if La Liga can bend over backwards and allow Messi to resign with Barcelona. While that prospect now looks bleak given the poor relationship between Laporta and La Liga President Javier Tebas over the European Super League. Both have been in a war of words over the sale of La Liga to CVC Capital Partners where Laporta views the sale as detrimental to the future of Barcelona.
"It would not be in Barca's best interests… We were going to receive some money, but we think that accepting it -- and affecting our [revenue from] television rights for the next 50 years -- is not something we can do [to keep Messi]. It's too risky. The club is above players, coaches and presidents."
Without Messi in the mix the CVC - La Liga deal would suffer greatly, and it seems the Argentine is the man in the middle in a tug of war between business interests. For Messi, who continues to play the waiting game and is not short on offers from all over the world, it really is a matter of La Liga and Barcelona coming to terms.
Meanwhile Manchester City and PSG are waiting in the wings, with 1 month left in the transfer window, Barcelona can still unload various players and make room for Messi, all the while pressuring La Liga to allow the contract to go through.