Barcelona was desperate to keep Lionel Messi and the Argentine also desired to stay at the Camp Nou – as indicated by his tears at a farewell press conference on Sunday. So why Messi is parting ways with Barcelona – a club he had played all his life is still a big question.
Barcelona and Lionel Messi both went side by side and were referred as synonyms to each other. However, the Catalan club took the tough decision and announced they cannot continue with their all-time top scorer. Barca says they had no choice but to release the 34-year-old on a free transfer after his contract expired in June.
Messi agreed to take a 50% pay cut, and studies have suggested that his professional value to the club far exceeds the astronomical cost of his salary. However, these loans and the need to meet a strict salary limit in the Spanish league pushed Messi out.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 10, 2021
The Catalan spent 222 million euros for Neymar from PSG in 2017 on commissions of more than 100 million euros each from the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann, and Ousnam Dembele. President Joan Laporta conceded that there was a loss of around €500m for last season alone and insisted he could not “mortgage” the club’s future to any player, including Messi.
Clubs in the top two divisions in Spain have suffered total earnings losses of €2.013 billion ($2.43 billion) for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. La Liga rules state that no Spanish club can exceed the total salary limit set by the league: in Barca’s case, it was €348 million for the previous season, down from €671.4 million in the previous term.
The boat crossed this low limit last season and now La Liga will not tolerate another escape. Laporta admitted that Barca’s salary with Messi would be 110% of the income. Even with that, it would have been huge, 95% unbearable.