Lionel Messi says goodbye to Barcelona but insists Paris Saint-Germain transfer is not over yet | Football news
An emotional Lionel Messi says he did not want to leave Barcelona but a move to Paris Saint-Germain is not confirmed.
Messi was in tears when he received a standing ovation at his last Barcelona press conference to announce the end of his 21 years with the club.
Barcelona confirmed the departure of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner on Thursday evening, the same day he returned to Catalonia after his holiday after the Copa America.
Messi had traveled to Barcelona hoping to agree on the details of announcing his new five-year deal, and he confirmed he had offered to cut his salary by 50%.
“This year my family and I were convinced that we were going to stay home, that’s what we all wanted more than anything,” Messi said.
“We had always made it ours, we were at home. We thought we would stay here in Barcelona. But today we have to say goodbye to it all.”
I heard things about myself that I didn’t want to continue, but about my life we did all we could because I wanted to stay.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta blamed Messi’s exit on the club’s former regime in addition to La Liga spending rules thwarting any hopes the Argentinian would stay in Catalonia.
“I did everything I could and the club, Laporta, they couldn’t do it because of La Liga,” Messi said.
“I heard things about myself that I didn’t want to continue, but about my life, we did all we could because I wanted to stay.
“Last year I didn’t want to stay and I said it; this year I wanted to stay and we couldn’t.”
He added: “I’m not ready for this. And honestly, with all the nonsense with the burofax, I was pretty sure what I meant.
“We thought we would stay in Barcelona. The time we spent here has been incredible.”
PSG offer two-year contract, Messi: “Nothing is confirmed”
PSG are offering Messi a two-year contract worth £ 25million a year after tax with the option of an additional year and are confident the 34-year-old will sign.
Messi has spoken directly with PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino and his lawyers are in Paris to work on a deal.
But when asked if a move to PSG would be his next move, Messi said: “It’s a possibility, to reach these heights.
“I haven’t confirmed anything with anyone. I’ve had a lot of calls, a lot of interested clubs. At the moment nothing is closed, but we are talking about a lot of things.”
At Messi’s last press conference at Barca: “He looked very lonely”
Gary Cotterill from Sky Sports News in Barcelona:
“It’s one of those things that’s so amazing, you hardly believe it’s happening. To be in that room, and it wasn’t a very big room, half was full of family, friends. and Barcelona past and present players, and the other half with journalists.
“Some 200 journalists weren’t even allowed in, so I had the privilege of being there, and Messi answered question after question. The back of the room was filled with cameramen and photographers.
“When he first went on stage you felt very sorry for him, he looked like a very lonely and sad character. When he started talking he was so upset, so suffocated and very emotional, he could barely pronounce his words.
“He left about 10 minutes ago and there have been a few hugs for the few remaining supporters including Jordi Alba. Hugs are not encouraged in these times of Covid, but who could blame him for an incredible opportunity he didn’t want, an opportunity he and the others will never forget. “
Analysis: Questions Asked About FFP Compliance
Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol:
Lionel Messi’s move to Paris will raise the profile of French football in the world, but serious questions will be asked about PSG’s ability to operate under Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
French clubs have been extremely hard hit by the pandemic. Leagues 1 and 2 have not completed their seasons after their suspension in March last year and the LFP’s € 800million domestic broadcast deal with Mediapro collapsed four months after the start of its first season.
Despite French football’s problems, PSG, backed by their Qatari owners, are confident they can balance their books by selling players and signing Messi without breaking FFP rules.
PSG’s payroll of € 414m in 2019/20 was more than three times that of the next richest club – Lyon’s annual payroll was € 132m.
PSG have already signed Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan this summer for € 60million and gave big contracts to three players who were free agents – Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum.
They remain in talks with Kylian Mbappe over a contract extension – his current contract will expire next summer.
Signing PSG with Messi would make it extremely difficult for them to be able to afford to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United this summer.
Any deal for Messi would also be a huge boost for Qatar as they prepare to host the World Cup next year.