By Mariah Nanah
Lionel “Leo” Andrés Messi, a professional footballer who plays for and captains the Argentina national team is all set to leave FC Barcelona, Mazima has learnt. Officials from Barcelona have informed the public about financial and structural obstacles.
“Despite the club and player reaching an agreement and their clear intention to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles. As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.” Officials from the club said in a statement.
“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandizement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.” The statement adds.
Messi has made 778 appearances for Barcelona, scoring 672 goals which have helped the club to claim 10 league titles, four Champions Leagues and three Club World Cups among his haul of 35 trophies.
Last month Messi agreed to a five-year deal on reduced wages rather than a two-year extension initially discussed. The agreement was expected to keep Barcelona within the boundaries of La Liga’s financial fair play regulations but that has proved impossible.
Barcelona needed to move players out to renew Messi’s deal and they have not been able to find the solution. The club, whose total debt is about €1,173m, is constrained by the league’s salary cap. Messi had agreed to a 50% pay cut, dropping from about €45m basic after tax closer to €20m.
The question is where will Messi play this season. He tried to leave Barcelona in August 2020 after the collapse of his relationship with the then president Josep Maria Bartomeu but was forced to stay. Now, when he was keen to continue for longer, it appears he is being forced to go.
Spanish media reported that the club had been in talks with their top-earning players such as Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto about reducing their salaries in return for contract extensions.
The club had also been trying to sell high-earning players including Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite but have not yet found suitors for them.
The club’s president Joan Laporta will hold a news conference on Friday morning in the wake of Messi’s exit.