Barcelona’s economics are preventing Lionel Messi from signing a new deal.

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Barcelona’s financial problems have created a stumbling block in re-signing Lionel Messi, according to club president Joan Laporta.

Barcelona’s financial problems have created a stumbling block in re-signing Lionel Messi, according to club president Joan Laporta.

Following the end of his contract, Messi was no longer a Barcelona player on Thursday. That happened 16 years after the forward signed his first professional deal with the club he joined when he was 13 years old.

When asked if he was close to persuading Messi to stay, Laporta maintained a cautiously optimistic tone. When Messi was a teenager, Laporta was the club’s president. After winning an election in March, he returned to lead the club, promising to leverage his close relationship with Messi to persuade him to stay.

The contract is being held up primarily because of the Spanish league’s tough financial fair play rules, Laporta said late Wednesday on a popular sports talk radio show.

“We want him to stay, and Leo wants to stay,” Laporta told radio station Onda Cero.

“The issue of financial fairness must yet be addressed. We’re working to come up with the greatest solution for both sides.”

Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer is leading Argentina in the Copa America in Brazil, far from the commotion at Camp Nou.

Last season, Barcelona’s finances were severely harmed by poor management by the previous club board, which was aggravated by a decline in revenues caused by the pandemic.

When Laporta returned to the club, he inherited a debt of 1.2 billion euros (USD 1.4 billion) and enormous contracts given to players, including Messi, by former club president Josep Bartomeu.

Messi’s previous contract, signed in 2017, paid him a staggering 138 million euros each season (USD 164 million). Despite the fact that Laporta has stated that Messi is willing to take a considerable pay reduction, the club appears to be struggling to make the arithmetic work.

Barcelona’s finances, according to Laporta, “were worse than I had thought.” According to him, the payroll and other payments totaled 650 million euros (USD 771 million).

Barcelona’s salary ceiling was lowered by the Spanish league from a league-high 671 million euros (USD 796 million) for the 2019-20 season to merely 383 million euros (USD 454 million) for the previous season.

In the coming weeks, a new pay cap is scheduled to be set, but with Barcelona’s finances still in shambles, it is expected to be much more liberal. The pay cap is based on 70 percent of a team’s income.

While Messi, who is 34 years old, remains the team’s top player, other players on whom the club has spent a lot of money in recent years have had inconsistent results. It is currently impossible for them to transfer to other clubs due to their exorbitant salary.

“The remuneration for Barcelona’s players are not comparable to those of other clubs,” Laporta recently told La Vanguardia newspaper.

Last season, the club essentially sold Luis Surez to Atltico Madrid in order to save money on his wage. After that, the Uruguayan striker led Atltico to the league title.

Laporta now has to make similar decisions with players like Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho, and Ousmane Dembele. Bartomeu invested a lot of money to sign all three, but none of them have lived up to his expectations.

Barcelona had no choice but to get inventive this summer in order to avoid paying transfer fees.

Messi has been linked with a return to Paris Saint-Germain to reunite with Neymar, as well as a return to Manchester City to play for Pep Guardiola. However, in recent weeks, those reports have cooled down.

Messi’s shirt is still for sale at the Barcelona store, despite the fact that he is free.

(The Business Standard staff may have modified just the headline and image of this report; the remainder is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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