Barcelona said goodbye to Lionel Messi. The top scorer in club history (672) and the player who has worn the Barça shirt the most times (778) left the Camp Nou after the Barça entity did not find the formula to fit in, in the uncontrolled salary mass of the first team, the new contract for the Argentine, which was agreed in July by president Joan Laporta and the player’s father and representative, Jorge Messi. “We have an institution that is above all, even the best player in the world,” said Laporta. After a 21-year bond at the club and a legacy of 35 titles, Barcelona are preparing to live without Messi. “We wanted the post Messi era to start in two years. It could not be. The start date of this new era must be brought forward. We are sure that it will be successful ”, predicted the top manager of Barcelona.
Laporta was optimistic, but first he remembered the past. And he did it repeatedly. “There are very objective reasons why we have not been able to close the deal: the financial situation of the entity. We have no salary margin, we have exceeded it. The dire management of the previous meeting exceeded the limit and we have not had time to reverse this situation ”, explained the Barça president. The salary mass of the first team, which includes their salaries plus amortizations, is at the limit with respect to the expected income. “Without Messi it is 95%,” he revealed. In addition, Barcelona will present a balance with 487 million losses – they calculated that they would be 350 million – and has a debt of 1,173 million.
Last season, Barça spent 506 million in salaries and amortizations. And, for this season, LaLiga estimated at 347 the amount of money that the club could spend on the first team. “To register 25 million in salaries we have to release 100. That’s a lot of players. The sports management is working to reduce it, but it is not so easy, “said Laporta. In the economic and sports area of Barça, in any case, they knew the difficulty of balancing the Rosario contract.
After Messi tried to leave Barcelona last season due to his differences with Josep Maria Bartomeu, Laporta presented himself as the candidate with the ability to convince the Rosario to continue his career at the Catalan club. The president won the elections in March and in April began negotiating with Jorge Messi. “Leo had put facilities in everything,” he said. At first, Barcelona’s proposal was for a two-year contract to be paid in five. The Rosario accepted it. The idea was cut short after advisers to the player and the club advised against the operation due to possible tax and financial problems. So, it was decided to sign a five-year contract. The player also said yes. And, instead of charging 138 million a year, between fixed and variable, he was going to charge about 350 million in the global link. Which represented a reduction of approximately 50% of the salary. “The deal was closed. We even got to shake hands. But then the jug of cold water arrived ”, said the Barça boss.
While Laporta and the sports vice president, Rafa Yuste, negotiated with the Messi, the football director, Mateu Alemany, and the general director, Ferran Reverter, talked with LaLiga to try to fit the pact with the Argentine within the salary limits. “It seemed that LaLiga was going to expand the fair play financial. LaLiga wanted to have Messi in the competition, but there are clubs that want the regulations to be complied with, and it is respectable ”, explained Laporta. The employer announced a pact with the CVC investment fund that would inject 2,460.3 million. The agreement corresponded to participating loans to the clubs with a variable interest of 40 years. For this operation, Barcelona would receive 284 million and could use 15% to increase the wage bill.
It happened, however, that Barça are not willing to accept that offer. Not even to retain Messi. “It is true that we would receive money, but we think that mortgaging television rights for half a century is not in the best interest of the entity. Barcelona is above all ”, stressed Laporta. Thebes was quick to react. “The CVC operation does not mortgage the television rights of Barcelona for 50 years. It makes them have more value for all the clubs ”, published the president of the employer’s association on Twitter. “There are risks that I do not want to take,” replied the president of Barcelona during his appearance.
Without the increase in the wage bill, the pact they had with the Rosario fell. On Wednesday, the president had a first conversation with Jorge Messi to inform him of Barcelona’s decision and on Thursday he ratified it. The player, who had already returned from his vacation and planned to join training on Friday, was stunned. “Leo wanted to stay and he is not happy. We all intended for him to stay, ”Laporta said. This Thursday, the president of Barcelona informed the other three captains of the club (Busquets, Piqué and Sergi Roberto) of the decision not to renew Messi. “I have seen their faces. I have asked them to give a plus. They have to ensure that there is a very strong team spirit. We will also know how to win without Messi, ”Laporta said. The fragile economy, aggravated by the tension between the club and LaLiga, precipitated Leo Messi’s final at Barcelona. The club does not fear for its future; the player, either. However, Messi is frustrated with his idea of ending his career at the Camp Nou.