“Leo Messi will not continue with FC Barcelona.” So says a brief statement published earlier today that holds massive implications for the Spanish football club. The issue? “Financial and structural obstacles” that stand between Messi’s desire to stay on Barca and the team’s yen to retain its star captain.
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
There were some recent ups and downs at Barca, yes, but Messi was keen to stay at the club that he’d always played for. Just last month, he agreed to a five-year pay cut — taking his earnings from about €45 million (about $53 million) to about €20 million (about $23.6 million).
What happened, however, is not really Messi’s fault. Barcelona’s mismanagement of funds prevented it from resigning his contract even at a halved rate. It pays 110% of its income to player salaries and is already many millions of dollars in debt.
To keep Messi, Barcelona would have had to move around some players and adjust some figures, but seems like time ran out before it was able to do so.
One of the biggest contemporary stars in all of football, Messi has been a massive powerhouse for Barcelona, aiding the team in securing four Champion League titles and three World Cups, to name a few awards. Of course, Messi himself is well decorated, his on-pitch prowess earning multiple Golden Shoes, Ballon d’Ors, and FIFA nods.
Unsurprisingly, social media has exploded with wistful goodbyes, mockery, and speculation about the star’s next moves.
Thank you, Leo. pic.twitter.com/cdS9xWe8Me
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 5, 2021
June: Messi’s 4-year/$674M deal with @FCBarcelona — the largest in sports history — expires.
July: He reportedly agrees to a new 5-year/$420M deal — a 50% pay cut.
August: Barcelona announces Messi will not return due to “financial and structural obstacles.”
The end of an era. pic.twitter.com/UWfKiSMj8s
— Boardroom (@boardroom) August 5, 2021
Aguero: We’re gonna have a good season with Barcelona aren’t we Leo mate?
— Dan (@DanMarland_) August 5, 2021
Barcelona wanted to sign Leo Messi and he wanted to stay but couldn’t because of La Liga’s financial rules.
Barcelona have to be the worst run major sports organisation possibly ever.
They just ruined the GOAT’s one club career because they couldn’t keep their books balanced 💔 pic.twitter.com/MniwvNpVwd
— JAKE BUCKLEY 🇦🇺 (@TheMasterBucks) August 5, 2021
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) August 5, 2021
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) August 5, 2021
Bartomeu’s administration will have to be solely judged by their financial irresponsibility when running the club.
If they hadn’t locked on deadwood players with multi-million euro, long contracts, Messi would be registered already.
Laporta and Leo did what they could.
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) August 5, 2021
Manchester City returning Jack Grealish back to Aston Villa to sign Lionel Messi. pic.twitter.com/3Fe1PKNRa2
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) August 5, 2021
Lionel Messi – End of an Era
— ً (@LSComps) August 5, 2021
“Lionel Messi is a once-in-a-lifetime player, a unique one.”
Thanks for the memories, Leo 🥺 pic.twitter.com/YypnyopZm9
— Goal (@goal) August 5, 2021