The Catalan giants announced on Thursday that the legendary Argentinean would not be signing a new contract with them to leave supporters devastated
Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona as Spanish giants blame LaLiga regulations
Hundreds of Barcelona supporters gathered outside the Nou Camp on Thursday to vent their anger and despair after it was announced that Lionel Messi would not sign a new contract with the club.
It had looked practically certain that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner would put pen to paper on a five-year deal, with the player arriving in Catalonia to seal the extension earlier this week.
But on Thursday evening the bombshell news came out that negotiations had broken down, with Barca releasing a statement confirming that Messi would not be renewing.
In it, they blamed La Liga for the collapse, saying: “Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of Spanish La Liga regulations on player registration.
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“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.”
Barca have been unable to register any new contracts or player registrations – including Messi and four summer signings – with their league season getting underway in 10 days against Real Sociedad.
The reason for this is that Barca are currently operating above their salary limit – a cap imposed by La Liga, as voted for by its member clubs, that means all clubs must operate within their spending capabilities.
Earlier this year, Catalan media outlet La Vanguardia claimed the club’s debt was “out of control” and the debt was described as “runaway” and they attested that austerity was now the “inescapable destiny” of the club – they had no other option but to significantly reduce all their outgoings, which would inevitably mean losing top earners in their squad.
Barca’s fans are naturally devastated, with one man pictured weeping while holding a Messi shirt outside the gates of the stadium.
Others simply looked lost for words as they stared at the famous old ground, no doubt wondering what the future holds for the club without their legendary talisman.
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The likes of Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay are believed to have joined this summer with the promise that they would be playing alongside Messi.
And it will be intriguing to see how they now react to the news, with the likelihood being that they will be left furious about being misled in such a way.
Aguero and Messi are long-term friends, while speaking after his signing was announced Depay said: “He’s a legend, the best player in the world, you saw what he did in the Copa America.
“I’m very much looking forward to playing with him, his quality is undoubted. I have to just make my runs and I know the ball will come.
“Because he has too much quality, he can do everything with the ball. I think everybody in the world would like to play with someone like that.
“Yesterday I had a tour of the museum and saw all of the Ballon d’Or awards, he probably has another one coming too. It’s going to be a dream for me.”