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In a sudden turn of events, FC Barcelona have confirmed that club captain and their greatest player of all time Lionel Messi will not be continuing with the club for the upcoming season. It was expected that Messi would renew his contract soon after reports emerged that the Argentine was ready to take a pay cut to extend his stay at the Spanish club but the club is unable to register him due to La Liga’s financial rules.



Last summer, Messi expressed his desire to leave the club after a catastrophic season which saw them cecede the league to rivals Real Madrid and get humiliate in the Champions League by Bayern Munich. However, his contractual obligations made him stay at the club and the season gone by had changed his mind over leaving the club.



His contract however ran out in June as the Copa America meant that contract talks had to be put on hold. Messi was technically a free agent even if it was expected that he would continue at the club.



Barcelona’s financial situation is very poor and Messi had agreed to take a pay cut to accomodate the club he loves so deeply. However, the mismangement of the club has been disastrous. La Liga sets a budget for each club based on projected revenues and past records and Barcelona saw a large cut in their budget due to their mismanagement and lack of funds. Their tricks to balance the books, like the Arthur-Pjanic exchange deal, has not worked.

This could also be a power play by Barcelona who are one of the three clubs still invested in the Super League project. The official statement released by the club portrays a picture that Messi’s departure is the fault of the regulations of the league and not one of their own making. La Liga president Javier Tebas had claimed that the Spanish league can survive without Messi and Barcelona are truly testing their resolve. Watch this space for this saga has just begun.

Ritwik Khanna
Economics student supporting FC Goa and Manchester United, in true masochistic way. Can be found reading Jonathan Wilson and Sid Lowe or planning a quirky trip in his free time.

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