Lionel Messi is reportedly “in shock” after talks over a new Barcelona contract broke down and the Catalan giants announced the captain would not be continuing his career at the Camp Nou.
Messi had been expected to sign a new five-year contract at Barcelona, but the club stunned the football world with a statement on the 34-year-old’s future on Thursday.
The “unexpected” news has also stunned Messi who “has no plans” currently to make a public statement, according to Ferran Martinez at Mundo Deportivo. Messi wants time to think but “is clear that he does not want to leave before saying goodbye to the fans.”
The report adds that Messi returned to Barcelona on Wednesday from Ibiza with the intention of putting pen to paper on a new deal. Martinez reports that “everything was tied up and ready to be formalized” until the club informed the Argentine he could not be registered because of La Liga’s salary cap.
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How Did It Come To This?
Barca’s statement on Messi came as a huge shock as it appeared the club would be able to make room in the squad for the captain’s new contract despite the Catalans’ well-documented financial problems.
According to Diario Sport, Messi had agree a huge pay-cut to stay on, while Wednesday saw an announcement that La Liga was set to receive a 2.7 billion euros ($3.2 billion) cash injection from a private equity firm CVC which would also help ease the club’s problems.
Yet even that was not enough, particularly with Real Madrid expected to challenge the deal between La Liga and CVC, according to Sport. The club informed Messi’s father and agent Jorge on Thursday which led to the contract talks collapsing.
Messi Wanted Romero?
Finances were reportedly not the only issue that saw the negotiations between Barcelona and Messi break down. The captain was also keen on the club bringing in Argentina teammate Cristian Romero from Atalanta, according to Marca.
Messi felt that “the defender’s signing would be a key move in strengthening the Barcelona squad,” but Romero is now expected to join Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur instead.
Romero has all but confirmed his move to the north London club, as shown by reporter Fabrizio Romano.
Cristian Romero now flying to London to join Tottenham as expected: “I only wanted Spurs because I really like this project. Paratici and the whole club wanted me and I’ll give my best. Premier League is the best way to continue my career”. ⚪️🇦🇷 #THFC pic.twitter.com/at8thkhxYg
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 5, 2021
It’s not clear what will happen next with Barcelona and Messi, although speculation over the 34-year-old’s future will surely dominate the headlines in the days to come. Messi’s former club Newell’s Old Boys have already posted a hopeful message on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Barcelona president Joan Laporta will speak to reporters on Friday morning to discuss the current situation. It promises to be an intriguing press conference with the club chief under scrutiny to explain why talks over Messi’s contract broke down and what happens next for the club and the greatest player ever to wear the famous shirt.