Joan Laporta explains why Barcelona still owes Lionel Messi money.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has explained that the club still owes Lionel Messi money following his departure in 2021 because of the old regime.
Messi exited Camp Nou after 16 glorious seasons with the Blaugrana, a decision that stunned the football world. However, it soon came to light that the legendary forward couldn’t continue with the Catalan giants due to their financial situation.
The Argentine hero headed for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the summer of 2021 but was constantly linked with a return to Barcelona. He decided against doing so last month when his contract with PSG expired, instead joining MLS side Inter Miami.
Laporta has wished Lionel Messi well ahead of his new venture in the United States. He promised that a tribute for the 36-year-old would take place (via Barca Times):
“I wish Messi all the best. We will prepare a mega tribute for him. It would be perfect to do at the inauguration of the new Spotify Camp Nou.”
The Barca president then admitted that the La Liga giants still owe Messi money as he deferred his salary under the old regime:
“We owe Messi money until 2025 as he deferred his salary under the previous board.”
Barca Universal cites various media outlets when claiming that Messi is owed €50 million ($54.4 million) in unpaid wages by Barcelona. The iconic forward is one of several players who agreed to defer their wages during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lionel Messi became an all-time great during his time with Barca. He made 778 appearances across competitions, scoring 672 goals and providing 303 assists. The legendary forward’s departure was a sad one as he didn’t want to leave but financial complications had taken hold.
The situation at Camp Nou has shown little improvement since the Catalan giants still find themselves enduring issues. They were forced to put economic levers in place last summer to help them in the summer transfer window.
Lionel Messi had doubts about Barcelona’s financial stability when deciding to join Inter Miami
Lionel Messi has admitted that he wanted to return to Barcelona this summer but didn’t want a similar situation to arise like his departure. He told SPORT last month:
“Yes, the truth is yes. I really wanted to come back, I was really looking forward to it. But, on the other hand, after having lived through what I lived through, after the exit I had… I didn’t want to go through the same situation again and have to wait to see what was going to happen.”
Messi claims that he heard that Barca players’ futures would be at risk should he rejoin the Catalan giants:
“I heard that they had to sell players or lower the salaries of players and the truth is that I didn’t want to go through that, nor be responsible or have anything to do with all that.”
The Argentine great will instead be heading to Inter Miami and has become the biggest signing in MLS history. He has signed a two-year deal with the option of a third worth a reported $50 million and $60 million a year, per Axios.