The headline of the day is that Messi leaves FC Barcelona. The Blaugrana club announced the departure of the Argentine footballer earlier today. The news is surprising and sudden, as everything seemed to be on track for the renewal, but the demands of LaLiga, according to Barca, make it impossible for Messi to re-sign with the club.
There are not many details in the terse and dry statement from FC Barcelona. The news is like a cold shower in sub-zero temperatures: “Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (LaLiga regulations).”
“Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue to be linked to FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that in the end, it will not be possible to fulfill the wishes of both the player and the Club,” the club added.
To conclude the statement, Barça said it “wholeheartedly thanks the player for his contribution to the institution and wishes him all the best in his personal and professional life”. Just like that, the blaugrana club said goodbye to the best player in its history.
Before FC Barcelona’s official announcement, the sports daily MARCA exclusively reported that Messi’s renewal was more difficult than ever and that it would probably not happen.
“Radical turnaround in Leo Messi’s renewal. Negotiations, which seemed resolved a few days ago, have reached a point of no return that seems impossible to resolve,” revealed the Spanish newspaper. “The Argentine is, right now, further away from renewing for Barcelona than ever and Joan Laporta knows and assumes this situation. Also the captains of the club are already aware that the situation has reached a point where it seems unfeasible to turn back.”
An unexpected exit
Negotiations seemed to be on track. Sergio Agüero, Messi’s friend and Leo’s teammate in the Argentine national team, arrived at Barcelona practically at the Argentine’s request. In theory, relations with the board would be better with Joan Laporta; after the mistreatment received during Josep Maria Bartomeu’s era, but none of that ended up being significant to achieve the long-awaited renewal.
An hour before FC Barcelona’s official announcement, Fabrizio Romano, one of the best-informed communicators of the European transfer market, explained on his Twitter account that “Barcelona were planning for official announcement before Gamper – all agreed since days, then today they had ‘new problems’ in the process to extend the contract.” He also said that “Barça and Messi will continue their talks to resolve the situation.”
This shows that there has been a radical change in the state of negotiations, as the statement from the Blaugrana club is lapidary and concrete: the Argentine will not continue. Nobody expected this bombshell.
LaLiga has just lost its most valuable asset in history; just at a time when Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are notably raising their level. Messi’s non-renewal could wreak havoc within the Spanish competition.