Barcelona announced that Lionel Messi will not return the club next season
The news is a shocking twist after both sides had previously agreed to a new contract
Manchester City, PSG among likely suitors for Messi
After a couple of tumultuous seasons, Barcelona are hoping that the 2021-22 campaign will be a bounce-back season. However, with the season set to get underway in eight days, the team’s prospects have suddenly taken a rather disastrous turn.
On Thursday, Barcelona announced that club legend Lionel Messi will not return to the team next season. The move comes shortly after ESPN reported that negotiations between Messi and the club had hit a stumbling block. The 34-year-old has been a free agent since his contract expired at the end of June, but it was long believed that he would ultimately agree to a new deal to stay at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona announced the news with a statement that said, “Despite having reached an agreement with Barca and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it will not be possible to formalize due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish La Liga regulations.)”
Earlier this summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas warned that Barcelona would not be able to register Messi’s new deal if they did not first balance their wage sheet. Barcelona are reportedly hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, and the team has failed to offload any of their other highest-paid players. Despite rumored interest in Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, both players are still being paid by Barca.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the deal seemed to be done. However, ESPN said earlier Thursday that the deal had not been finalized after a few issues popped up in negotiations. Now, Messi will be free to sign with a new team ahead of next season.
LATEST NEWS | Leo #Messi will not continue with FC Barcelona
There were also reportedly some financial details in the contract that need to be ironed out. Messi was expected to take a sizable salary cut in order to return to the club, which was necessary in order for Barcelona to comply with La Liga’s financial fair play restrictions.
Messi himself arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday after spending the past few weeks on vacation. Messi got some extra time off after leading Argentina to a victory in Copa America over the summer for the first time. Barcelona president Joan Laporta had remained confident that Messi will be back with the club next season, but the club will now have to go in a shockingly different direction.
PSG Favored to Sign Messi
Of course, there are not many clubs with the financial wherewithal to afford Messi. While he was expected to take a pay cut, this is still a player that earned well over $70 million in salary just last season. Manchester City and Paris St. Germain, a pair of clubs with seemingly endless financial resources, will likely be atop the list of potential suitors now that Messi is suddenly available.
Soccer betting sites have installed PSG as the early favorites to sign the Argentina legend. PSG have spent plenty of money this summer in order to bring in the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, and Aschraf Hakimi this summer, but the club has reportedly long considered the idea of spending whatever it takes to bring Messi into the mix.
According to top online sportsbooks, PSG is suddenly a -110 favorite to secure Messi’s signature ahead of next season. Manchester City aren’t far behind at +210, followed by any MLS club (+1100), Inter Milan (+1200), and Manchester United (+1800).
Messi initially expressed his displeasure with Barcelona’s direction last season following an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. The club’s decision to fire president Josep Maria Bartomeu and hire Laporta seemingly changed his mind, but the two sides could ultimately not agree to a deal that would fit under Spain’s salary cap.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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