IT’S OVER | The Daily Star

    Barcelona’s negotiations with Lionel Messi are over and the striker is considering other offers, club president Joan Laporta said on Friday.

    Laporta said in a press conference that he was not ready to “put the club in danger” by renewing Messi’s contract, with Barça facing huge financial problems before the start of La Liga.

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    “Yesterday we realized it was over. I had my last conversation with Leo’s father,” Laporta said.

    “I do not want to give false hopes. The player has other offers and there is a time limit because La Liga starts soon and needs time to evaluate his other options.”

    Messi agreed with Barcelona to sign a five-year contract, but with the compromise that he would earn 50 percent less per year.

    But the rules of La Liga financial fair play, which are expected to reduce Barca’s salary limit to less than € 200 million this season, led Laporta to conclude that he was unable to complete the deal.

    “We could not adjust Messi’s contract,” said Laporta, who was re-elected president in March.

    “The situation we have inherited is appalling and the sports salary represents 110% of the club’s income. We have no margin for salaries.

    “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.”

    At the moment it is not in our thoughts (to sign Messi), absolutely not. It seemed that it ended well in the sense that (Messi) continues with Barcelona. In the end it was a surprise for everyone, of course me too, but I think Laporta was clear today. Pep Guardiola, coach of Manchester City

    We are focused on the club, which works discreetly in the transfer window and we work to improve the team in any way possible to achieve the goals we set at the beginning of the season. Mauricio Pochettino, PSG coach

    Lionel Messi was recently photographed in a social media post with Neymar, Leandro Paredes, Angel di Maria and Marco Verratti – all of Paris Saint-Germain, the most likely destination for the former Barcelona star. PHOTO: TWITTER

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    Lionel Messi was recently photographed in a social media post with Neymar, Leandro Paredes, Angel di Maria and Marco Verratti – all of Paris Saint-Germain, the most likely destination for the former Barcelona star. PHOTO: TWITTER

    Laporta said Barcelona could sign Messi by agreeing to the deal, but insisted it was a risk he was unwilling to take.

    “We were not prepared to endanger the club in this way,” Laporta said. “Barça had to be in favor of a contract that would mortgage our television rights for half a century.

    “I am not willing to mortgage the club to anyone. We have an institution that is above all, even the best player in the world.”

    Laporta said he felt “sad and frustrated” but that he “did everything possible” to keep Messi, who joined Barcelona at the age of 13 and scored 672 goals in 778 appearances for the team.

    “There is one before and after Leo,” Laporta said. “Leo Messi was a symbol and he left some historical moments. We are eternally grateful to him.”

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