Lionel Messi will break his silence on his future on Sunday, three days after cash-strapped Barcelona announced they were unable to keep the superstar reportedly set to move to Paris Saint-Germain.
The Spanish giants have said the 34-year-old will hold a press conference at Camp Nou at noon (1000 GMT), without specifying the nature of the briefing.
It will be his first public comments since Barcelona announced on Thursday that Messi, the club’s all-time top scorer and appearance designer, will leave after 21 years.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta said on Friday he was not ready to ‘endanger the club’ by renewing Messi’s contract as the club face huge financial problems ahead of the start of the season. Liga on August 15.
Laporta said Barcelona are no longer negotiating with Messi and the Argentina striker is considering other offers.
PSG, who bought Neymar from Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros ($ 264 million) in 2017, appear favorites to sign Messi according to reports in France.
Significantly, Qatari club president Nasser al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo both missed the team’s 2-1 win at Troyes in their Ligue 1 season opener on Saturday night. .
“There have been a lot of rumors. A lot of things are being said, ”said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino.
“I just hope that we are strong enough to try to win all the competitions that we participate in. “
Sports daily L’Equipe reported that Messi will be awarded a three-year ‘record contract’ with ‘a net annual salary of 40 million euros’ – but it appears nothing has been signed.
Funded by a gas-rich Qatari sovereign fund, PSG are considered one of the few clubs in the world with pockets deep enough to bid for the six-time Ballon d’Or.
Messi was pictured earlier this month vacationing with Neymar, along with Argentina team-mates Angel di Maria and Leandro Paredes and fellow PSG star Marco Verrati.
– ‘Difficult to understand’ –
The Barcelona captain has been a free agent since July 1, when his contract expired.
He originally made a deal with Barcelona to sign a five-year contract worth 50% less per year.
But La Liga’s financial fair play rules, which are expected to reduce the amount Barca can spend on salaries this season by some € 200m ($ 235m), have led Laporta to conclude that they don’t. were unable to close the deal.
“We couldn’t accept Messi’s contract,” said Laporta, who was re-elected club president in March and said on Friday that he would not “mortgage” the club for anyone.
“The situation we have inherited is abominable and the sports payroll represents 110% of the club’s income.
“La Liga rules set limits and we have no room. We have known the situation since we arrived, but the numbers we have seen are even worse than we thought. “
Barcelona have a total debt of almost 1.2 billion euros, more than half of which must be repaid in the short term.
Many in Catalonia are struggling to accept the departure of the 34-year-old who has played at the club since he signed a napkin contract at the age of 13.
“Still hard to understand that you won’t be playing for @FCBarcelona anymore,” tweeted coach Ronald Koeman, the man whose goal saw Barca win their first European Cup in 1992.
“Thank you for everything you have done for our Leo club. I really enjoyed the full season we worked together. I am impressed with your work ethic and your desire to win. “
© 2021 AFP