Lionel Messi is set to quit Barcelona when the club fails to meet the terms of his new contract
Lionel Messi is set to leave Barcelona after the club was unable to fulfill a new contract with the star owing to “financial and structural hurdles.”
After failing to reach an agreement on a contract renewal before his previous Barcelona deal expired on June 30, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been a free agent since July 1.
The 34-year-old, on the other hand, was set to sign a new five-year contract with the Catalan club, which would have seen his income cut by half.
“Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having achieved an agreement and both parties’ clear determination to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen due to financial and structural difficulties,” the club said in a statement (Spanish Liga regulations).
“Messi will not be remaining at FC Barcelona as a result of this predicament.” Both sides lament that the player’s and the club’s wishes will not be realised in the end.
“FC Barcelona expresses its heartfelt gratitude to the player for his contribution to the club’s advancement and wishes him the best of luck in his personal and professional life.”
Barcelona has been negotiating with vice-captains Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, and Sergi Roberto about lowering their pay by 40% in exchange for contract extensions in order to comply with La Liga’s financial fair play standards for the upcoming season.
They’ve also tried to sell a number of high-paid players, including Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, and Martin Braithwaite, but have failed to find a buyer for any of them.
Wage caps in La Liga are calculated prospectively depending on a club’s financial condition, and they must stick to them to avoid financial penalties in the future. Barca’s budget for the 2021-22 seasons had been drastically slashed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.