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Guillem Balague
+ Your AuthorsArchive @GuillemBalague CBS, @BBC5Live, @LaLigaTV, #BoyRebelGod, @FBeyondBorders patron, @Biggleswadeutd Chairman, @PureFootballpod, YT, @Genting_Bet [email protected] Aug. 06, 2021 7 min read

The press conference of Joan Laporta starts. Lots of questions that need answering, but first he will try to put some context to the departure of Leo Messi

“I am here to explain the situation about Messi… I need to say first, sadly we have such a bad financial past that means the wages are 110pc of the income. That means we have no flexibility… Situation is worse that we were told and what we had calculated based on official data”

“The debt is bigger than expected. That is linked to FFP of course. The new contract with Messi could not be approved… On that, we don’t agree with the deal LaLiga has reached because it mortgages us for half a century.

The club is above players, coaches, directors”

“Reasons why we have decided to stop negotiations are objective reasons: financial situation of the club (the investment to keep him had plenty of risks. We wanted to take them but when we have known the reality of the club after the audit, we have to decided not to do so”

“The only possible way to go further with Messi had to do with that deal LaLiga has agreed but we disagree with. But we feel that is not right, the mortgaging of the club for half a century”

“Messi wanted to stay. I want to thank those that negotiated for months with plenty of time and interest, in such a complicated negotiation. It had to be done in a determined time as he had other offers, plus within FPP, but this process at some point you have to stop…”

“You have to leave feelings away, you have to look at numbers with a cold head. We wanted LaLiga to be more flexible but this is no excuse, we knew the rules and what we have been left with from the previous board makes it all impossible”

“I am sad but I also think that we have done the best for Barcelona (not re-signing Messi”

“Barcelona is above anyone, including the best player of the world. We will always be thankful to him”

- Is there any hope that this would change?

- I don’t want to create false expectations. The player has got other offers. We had a limit of time for us and also for him. If the FPP does not change, and it looks like it will not, then the player needed to look after his future.

“We had a first agreement of two years to pay in five years. Messi has opened the door to all kinds of help to make it happen. We thought we could do it, but FPP stopped it. Then, we had a deal of five years, agreed by Leo, even though we thought of two years with us…

“Two years made sense for him too as he has other plans after that. Again we thought FFP would accept it (LaLiga kind of suggested that it would work that way), but a technical analysis of LaLiga told us that the deal would not work either”

(About other players not reducing their wages) “to enter €25m of wages, we had to reduce 100m the wage list. That is a lot to reduce… some have reduced or restructured their wages. Other club decisions on that did not guarantee success (talking players to court or sack them)”

“The situation of the wages is unsustainable and we keep working to reduce it. That comes on the back of years of mismanagement. The new players (Aguero, Eric Garcia, Depay) have accepted wages that can be fitted in”

- can FCB bring new players with Messi gone?

- this negotiation with Messi is finished as we couldn’t put in practice agreements we had with him. Our wage cap does not allow it… now we are motivated to improve the squad

“Because of COVID we cant do yet the homage Leo deserves, in two years we could have done a huge party with people in the stadium. Now we are all sad but when we think that Barcelona is above anyone. We have 122 years of history, we have had all kinds of trouble and survived”

“I am convinced the post-Messi era will also be successful,” Laporta says

“I don’t feel responsible for not fulfilling an electoral promise. We did agree a deal with Messi, but we could not register that agreement because of the wage cap. People to blame? The numbers the previous board made public were not right, they were much worse as the audit said”

“We had to take a decision after realising that FPP did not allow it and any agreement (with Leo) would have made life very hard to the club. So I took a decision about it”

“Even if got rid of lots of players, that wouldnt have sorted it out (as there are payments to do). What is not good in life is to keep going when you know things cannot be sorted. At some point, you have to stop. We have moved the end two years earlier than we wanted”

“Two days ago I reached the conclusion that the negotiations could not continue. Yesterday I had the last conversation with Leo’s dad. It has been a very intense two months”.

“(What is the situation without the wages of Messi?) Even without Leo we don’t have margin to manouver! We need to keep working to help our football directors to be able to take new decisions”

“The 110% of wages in relation to income doesn’t include the deal with Messi”. Laporta confirms that way that unless they reduce that, they cannot register Depay, Eric Garcia, Emerson and Aguero. He thinks they will be able to, but not there yet! (Has to be reduced to around 70%)

“Leo wanted to stay, so he is not happy. He now has to face the reality that cannot be changed. His family and him know I wish them the best. Barcelona is his home, he has made the club bigger”

“Jorge Messi has been such a gentleman and they never asked for anything that did not enter the logic of a negotiation. Any petition from their part did not stop the agreement. In fact we did agree. It is just we could not formalise it”

“(If Laliga change their mind, what then?) That is just hypothesis. We have to live the reality. It is not possible (to see Messi stay)”

“We will have more than double financial loses that expected and announced for last season. There will be important income coming in. 65-70% is what is suggested as the percentage of wages related to income, and we are far away for it to be a healthy situation!”

“The homage to Leo Messi will be the one that he fancies. We would homage him every day.

The squad is not closed.

We all knew the difficulties of the negotiations, both sides. We were optimistic when we reached agreements. With the 5 year deal we shook hands…

“We were told by LaLiga that 5 year deal could only fit if… look at what has happened in the last two years and add up” (Laporta is talking about the deal LaLiga reached with CVC that FCB think it should not be agreed as it mortgages the club for half a century)”.

Jorge Messi travelled to Barcelona knowing that it was impossible? “We spoke 2 days ago, we were going to sign a new deal yesterday…” He has not answered, but no, Jorge did not travel to Barcelona and did not know before meeting that Laporta had decided not to sign a new deal

Tebas just tweeted interpreting the CVC deal in a different way to Laporta who insists that the club “does not want to take the risks that the deal with CVC implies. We don’t have to do deals that involved half a century. Plus FCB considers that 10% of LaLiga is more than agreed”

Players have not put public notes out saying goodbye to Messi. “I understand that it takes time to adapt to a new situation. It is not what they expected, but the squad now have got a chance to create new challenges with very good players”

“We think that Messi has still years ahead, but now we have to live this reality of living without him two years before we planned”

“I have spoke to Ronald (and the captains). He is a great professional and has the capacity to adapt quickly to the new circumstances. Obviously losing a player that scores 30+ goals a season will be hard, but he is working hard for others to fill gaps”

The loses from last season are €487m, another figure that shows the situation is so bad

Laporta suggests that the club paid more for services than they should have, and keeps talking of the bad management of funds
but does not confirm if they will go against the previous board

That’s that. The big conclusion: no turning around. Messi IS LEAVING. FCB tried with two different deals but couldnt be fitted with LaLiga’s FFP. Yesterday Messi went to Barcelona thinking they were going to sign a new deal but Laporta had decided beforehand that was not possible

You can follow @GuillemBalague.


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