Barcelona released a statement on Thursday confirming that the Argentinian won’t be continuing with the club.
“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.
“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.
“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.”
Barcelona have been unable to register their new signings due to the wage cap in La Liga. Despite this, president Laporta had been confident about retaining the 6-time Ballon D’or winner, even if Messi would have had to take a wage cut.
However, things look to have changed behind the scenes as the statement took the whole football community by shock.
The following morning saw Laporta appear for a press conference where he stressed that both the player and the club wanted to continue together but the league’s rules made it impossible.
Laporta explained that the wage bill with Messi stood at 110% of the revenue, which left absolutely no margin for manoeuvre. When asked about how things stood in terms of the wage bill after Messi’s departure, Laporta confirmed that it has now come down to 95% of the revenue. "Now we have a small margin to find solutions. Yet even without Leo there is not much room” he stressed.
Another question he faced was whether the situation was reversible or not, to which Laporta replied that he didn’t want to generate “false hope”.