The world has turned upside down as soon as the news broke out that Lionel Messi would leave Barcelona. Last year, the same school of thought persisted and it was a huge drama staged by fans and media regarding the exit of Messi. At the end of the day, Messi stayed in Barca, and this year, it has been officially confirmed, Messi is leaving Barca, AGAIN! Well, only time can tell what would happen in the end!

The President of Barcelona addressed the media regarding the Messi drama today.

Laporta explained that Barcelona were not prepared to mortgage the club for 50 years to comply with LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play demands.

“We could not secure Messi’s first contract, I will explain why in detail a little later. To remain within ‘Fair Play’ restrictions, Barca would have to agree to a contract that basically implies mortgaging the club for half a century, for the television broadcasting rights. I am not prepared to mortgage the club’s rights for anyone. Our institution is above everything else, including the best player in the world. We will always be eternally grateful to him.”

“The reasons why we couldn’t reach an agreement were quite clear – it was down to the economic situation the club is in and making an outlay of such magnitude… We were prepared to do so but we don’t have any margin with the wages bill, we have gone over it. The calamitous management of the previous board meant we exceeded the limit and we don’t have time to revert that situation.”

“There are a number of contracts that can be resolved unilaterally but which also pose a risk. Registering Leo would require accepting an arrangement that would not benefit Barca. Leo wanted to stay at Barça and that was what we wanted too. The player’s willingness was the key.”

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the negotiations, and who had to find solutions to different aspects which affected both sides. The best player in the world has other proposals and the moment has arrived when you have to put emotions to one side, and coldly look at the numbers. We have to abide by LaLiga’s rules, even though we had hoped they would be more flexible. Leo deserves everything; he has shown his love for Barca and his willingness to stay. I’m sad, but I am convinced we have done what is best for FC Barcelona.”

“I don’t want to generate false hopes. That player has other offers and there is a limit on time as La Liga is due to start soon – and he needs time to consider all of his options. As I say, we have spent over two months working on this. We agreed on a two-year deal which would be paid in five years. Messi helped to make everything as easy as possible.”

“We thought that the contract was within La Liga’s criteria, it works fine in other countries but here, it wasn’t accepted.”

“We had hoped that the post-Messi era would start in two years’ time, but now we have to bring that forward by two years. It wasn’t to be.”

“To give you some idea about the salary cap with the 4 to 1 rule – To be able to have 25 million euros in wages, we would have to reduce it by 100. That would require selling a lot of players.”

“I don’t feel to blame at all. We did everything we possibly could to ensure that Messi stayed at Barça, within the club’s economic situation. We had agreed on the contract. As for who is to blame… I don’t want to continue repeating the terrible position which we have inherited. We didn’t have six months to sort this out.”

“There was a budget which was far worse than what we previously imagined. I had said that talks were going well because it seemed that La Liga might extend the ‘fair play’ rules and we had an agreement with the player. We were waiting. But the time comes when you have to make a stand. We couldn’t continue like that, we had to make a decision.”

“This isn’t an attempt at blackmail. If we perform this operation with La Liga, it involves money and we would be 15% over the salary limit and that doesn’t resolve the matter. With great sadness and disappointment, we had to make a decision. What you cannot do in life is prolong the agony. A decision had to be made. We thought it would all be sorted out by the end of July.”

“A couple of days ago I reached the conclusion that this couldn’t go on. Yesterday I held the final conversations with Leo’s father. Negotiations during the past two months have been intense. We reached an agreement but it couldn’t come to fruition. We thought they might be more flexible, but we had exceeded the salary limit.”

“I cannot give you the exact figures but I know that we have exceeded the salary cap even without Messi’s contract. La Liga asks us to comply with the rules; I am sure that LaLiga would like to have Leo Messi. But understandably, there are clubs who have to follow the rules and they can’t make an exception. It’s that simple.”

“Leo wanted to stay and he is not very happy. All of us wanted him to stay and now he, and the rest of us, are facing the reality. I wish him and his family the very best. Barça will always be his home; he contributed to the club’s honours list like nobody else.”

“I would rather be here now with Leo, announcing that he will continue at Barça. I like to dream too, but right now that is not possible. The wages bill currently represents 95% of our income.”

“I spoke to the captains yesterday by phone. This is an important moment in Barça’s history. I told them that the players will be starting a new era in club history and that we have to continue winning without players of Messi’s talent. I asked for the total commitment and professionalism. The captains must lead the team into this new era. We have been through many different eras and now we are confronting a historic opportunity.”

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“According to our calculations, we will be able to register the new signings. It is not the same as the salary issue. I would like to thank them for the efforts they have made and I hope there are no more problems.”

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