The hardest thing to say is goodbye, but that’s what Lionel Messi has done today. The Argentine gave a press conference at Camp Nou to bid farewell to Barcelona, the club he joined as a teenager and the only one he’s represented throughout his amazing career.
Unrepeatable 🐐 pic.twitter.com/xpWRDlHyCq
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 8, 2021
Barcelona confirmed Messi’s departure on Thursday evening, causing an immense shock amidst the football world. His contract had expired at the end of June, but most believed that a renewal was inevitable. Despite his age, he’s not slowing down; Messi was player of the tournament at the Copa America as Argentina won their first title since 1993, scoring four goals and contributing five assists. Argentina beat Brazil in the final in Rio de Janeiro.
But La Liga’s strict financial controls and Barcelona’s inability to shift deadwood has meant that the Blaugrana couldn’t retain the services of what many consider to be the greatest footballer of all time. He’s expected to sign for Paris Saint-Germain in the coming days, where he’ll reunite with former Barcelona teammate Neymar, while Barcelona enter a new era.
It would have been legally impossible for Lionel Messi to play for free at Barcelona. Any new contract is, by Spanish law, required to be a minimum of 50 percent of previous wage (this is in place to avoid financial manipulation). https://t.co/annqTuQlCF
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) August 8, 2021
Many observers claimed that if Messi had really loved Barcelona he would have played for them for nothing, helping them on the pitch without impacting on their finances. They believed he could have done it given how wealthy he is. But, as Colin Millar pointed out, Spanish law makes such an idea legally impossible. Any new contract is required to be a minimum of 50% of the previous wage, a mechanism in place to avoid financial manipulation.