A legacy difficult to take on
From the outset, Laporta blamed the previous Bartomeu management. “Unfortunately, we received a club in a bad situation. The payroll represents 110% of the club’s income, which means that we have no salary margin. There are rules in La Liga, financial fair play, which give us no margin“, he regretted, adding that the audit carried out”was worse“than the forecasts. The latter will also soon be made public. This season, the losses”will be 487 million euros“.
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“The motivations for which we have decided to end the negotiations are economic. We were prepared to take economic risks for Leo, but when we saw the economic reality of the club, we could not endanger the institution (…) We did not have time to put it in order. condition of the club, which is in a catastrophic state.“, lamented Laporta.
Between Messi and Barça, however, an agreement seemed to have been found to extend. But it was therefore impossible to ratify. “Messi absolutely wanted to stay. We also wanted to keep it“, he confided. But for him to stay, it would have taken a”catastrophic economic operation“, which would have”put in danger“the club and its already fragile health.”I want to thank all the people who negotiated around Leo’s contract. For months, we negotiated. We knew that we had to make all of this compatible with financial fair play until a certain date. (…) I spoke with Jorge Messi. With Leo, we sent each other messages. Both parties are disappointed. We have worked hard to be successful, and we fail for reasons that are not up to us. Leo did everything he could to stay, he can’t be faulted. Our offer was much less superior than the others.”
“Messi has shown that he wants to stay at Barca. I am sad but convinced that we have done the best for the interests of FC Barcelona (…) He is not happy. He wanted to stay. He is confronted with reality. Leo and his family know that I wish them the best. Barça is his home. He has grown the club and its record like no one else. Here is his home“, specified the president of Barça, who understood that this extension had become impossible two days ago.”He leaves a huge legacy. He was one of the best players of the best moment in the history of FC Barcelona. Leo Messi is a reference, he gave us so much happiness, joy, images for history. There will be a before and an after Messi.“
What agreement had been reached?
In the process, Johann Laporta revealed the contours of the agreement that had been reached with Messi’s entourage: “We initially agreed on a two-year contract paid over five years, but which did not fit into La Liga rules. We then agreed on a contract for five (…) But the La Liga Economic Commission said no. She offered us a deal that would bring us money but did not respect the future interests of the club in terms of TV rights. We wanted the post-Messi to start in two years. We still wanted to enjoy the magic and talent of Leo“
“Everyone knew the terms of the operation. We agreed, we even shook hands, he revealed. But everything was subject to La Liga rules, which absolutely did not suit us. You had to take the bull by the horns and make decisions.“
No “false hopes”, Messi has “other offers”
For those who speculated on a possible pressure from Barca on La Liga, and therefore a coming back, Laporta was clear: Messi will leave Barca. “I don’t want to give false hope. The player has other offers. There was a deadline, for us, the start of the season, so that the player could turn around too“, he announced, without specifying the identity of the clubs concerned.
No i don’t feel responsible
For his part, Laporta does not feel responsible for this departure. “I said we would do everything we can, given the club’s economic situation, to extend Messi. This is what I did since we were in agreement, but we were unable to secure the contract with La Liga. We didn’t have enough time“, assured the president of Barça, for whom his club is”above all players“, even the “best in history“.
“After meetings with La Liga we thought our contract proposal would be accepted, he confided. But we had to accept agreements that entailed too great a risk for our entity. Our decision is that we couldn’t put the club in further danger (…) Liga wanted Leo Messi to stay. But there are clubs that want the rules to be followed and they didn’t want to make any concessions for Leo Messi. The economic situation left by the old management is really catastrophic.”
Leo Messi, Joan Laporta
Credit: Getty Images
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