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Explained | Why Messi could not be retained by Barcelona

COVID19 pandemic impact on club’s revenues, high debt burden and adherence to LaLiga regulations made it tough for FC Barcelona to retain Lionel Messi.

August 09, 2021 / 10:47 PM IST
For the second time in a month football dominated both the front and back pages of newspapers in Argentina as a shocked nation dissected the news that Lionel Messi was leaving Barcelona.

For the second time in a month football dominated both the front and back pages of newspapers in Argentina as a shocked nation dissected the news that Lionel Messi was leaving Barcelona.


On Sunday, Lionel Messi, the 34-year-old Argentinian soccer wizard bid an emotional farewell to his long associated club, FC Barcelona. Messi has been with Barcelona since the start of his senior career, but he will not retire as a one-club man after recent developments.

The superstar is now a free agent, being out of contract since the end of June, after the club found him too costly to retain.

“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 LaLiga regulations on player registration,” the club said in its official statement.

As per LaLiga regulations, there is a floating salary cap for teams which limits players/employee benefits for the season to 70 percent of the club income.

Messi’s last contract with Barcelona paid him $674 million over the four-year term ($168.5 million per year).

“I offered to reduce my contract by 50 percent, and then they didn't ask me for anything else; ...As the president said, the club has got a big debt, they can't do it, it's not possible,” Messi said.

But even if the Argentine striker opted for a higher pay cut or played for free, this would not have helped the cause. Because, according to Spanish law a new contract requires to be at least 50 percent of the previous one, states Colin Millar, a football writer and journalist.

A new contract with Messi would have scaled the wages to 110 percent of the club's earnings, “a financially risky move given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Joan Laporta, President of FC Barcelona. “Without Messi's wages, salaries would account for 95 percent of Barcelona's income, while ideally, they should not exceed 70 percent, so there's still a lot of work to be done,'' Reuters reported quoting Laporta.

The impact of COVID-19 on revenues and the high debt burden on the club, reportedly over $1 billion, made it tough for FC Barcelona to comply with La Liga regulations and sign the soccer superstar.

With Messi having to leave the club, a spectacular era of his magical spell of nearly two decades will come to an end. There have already been talks of the legend getting offers from other clubs with some even confirming that he is set to join the Paris Saint-Germain, a French football club.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Aug 9, 2021 10:47 pm

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