It’s news that is sure to rile any supporter of a Barcelona persuasion.
Right up until the last possible moment in the summer, it was believed that Lionel Messi was going to sign a new deal with Barca, which is likely to have kept him at the club for a further two seasons.
On the day a new contract was meant to be announced, club president, Joan Laporta, shocked the football world by saying that Barca could no longer afford to keep their best-ever player, cited by FCBarcelona.com.
A deal put on the table by La Liga, to allow CVC, a private equity firm, to invest in the Spanish top-flight, was turned down by Laporta because it risked the club’s future, per BBC Sport.
However, it’s now come to light that it wasn’t just the CVC deal which, ultimately, stopped Barca from having Messi put pen to paper one last time.
“I didn’t know if Messi could renew because of that, but later I got a call [from Laporta]. ‘Can we accelerate the CVC deal? The kid [Messi] is getting nervous.
“I told him: ‘The day it comes out, Florentino is going to try and burst it.’ And Laporta told me: ‘No, no, I have character.’ Florentino’s behind it all, I have no doubt.
“There was an agreement that if [Barca] signed the CVC deal, they could have put 15% of the money towards signing players. In my opinion, they could have signed Messi.
“Laporta signed players like Memphis, Aguero… if he didn’t sign those players, Messi could continue.”
With this new information to hand, it makes Laporta’s decision to dispense with Messi all the more intriguing.
Is there a longer-term plan in play that Messi’s re-signing would’ve put in jeopardy? Signing Erling Haaland for instance.
There are still more questions than answers, and clearly they’ll continue after the latest revelations.
Messi may have only scored one goal at PSG, but Aguero hasn’t even made debut for Barca as yet, whilst Depay has gone off of the radar somewhat after a decent start to life at the Camp Nou.