Barcelona appear to have been handed a huge boost in the re-signing of Lionel Messi with La Liga reportedly clearing him to be registered.
Messi is officially a free agent this summer, with his contract at Barcelona running out before the club and player could agree on a new deal.
It comes a year after Messi had handed in a transfer request with the club in disarray, only to be told by La Liga that the €700m release clause in his contract still stood. Messi would go on to play 47 times for Barcelona across all competitions in 2020/21, scoring 38 goals and adding a further 12 assists.
Although Barcelona once again failed in the Champions League and finished third in La Liga, Messi did still manage to inspire his side to Copa del Rey glory, scoring twice in the 4-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the final.
But while Messi has been away at Copa America, scoring four goals and registering five assists to lead Argentina to glory for the first time in his career with the first Copa for La Albiceleste in 28 years, Barcelona have been falling apart.
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While Barcelona have used the summer to recruit the likes of Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Emerson Royal; they haven’t been able to officially register them due to financial reasons. Jean-Clair Todibo, Konrad de la Fuente, Junior Firpo and Matheus Fernandes have all been shifted on permanently, but Barcelona still need to do more.
Unfortunately for Barcelona, the financial issues affected Messi too, with the Argentine reportedly the highest-paid player in world football earning £500k per week. La Liga president Javier Tebas admitted it would be impossible for Barcelona, or any other club for that matter, to sign Messi at his current salary.
“He won’t be able to sign with the same conditions of the former contract,” Tebas said.
“That would be impossible but I also don’t think any European club can pay that amount in his former contract, not just Barcelona.”
Tebas also insists that he won’t allow Barcelona to evade or bend La Liga’s financial fair play rules in order to secure Messi’s renewal, saying “no, I won’t [turn a blind eye] for Messi, it’s impossible,” per Marca.
However, according to AS, Barcelona have been cleared to register Messi by La Liga, with the deal set to be announced once the club have sorted their salary problem.
Why Barcelona can’t register their new signings yet
So, why can’t Barcelona register their new signings? Well, the Blaugrana have exceeded La Liga’s salary cap, which was introduced to try and stop clubs in the league from going into debt, especially in the current climate.
However, Tebas has admitted that Barcelona have always played it close to the limit so when it was tightened due to the pandemic, they were unable to drop to fit the regulations – causing the ongoing problem.
And he also offered a warning to Barcelona that they would be unable to register players unless they can meet the regulations, though he does expect them to rectify the situation.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 20, 2021
“Our regulations are sufficient. It is just a real situation with the pandemic that there’s less income and more losses,” Tebas added.
“To open up the situation would just cause more debt. We studied it a lot and think the regulation is acceptable and all clubs should abide by it. All clubs approved this regulation themselves.
“It’s not the first time in recent years that this has happened where a club signs players but can’t register the player. I am sure Barcelona will sort it out but if they don’t they won’t be able to register the players.
“The big difference between Barcelona and the pandemic is that they have always been at the limit of the wages. When the pandemic came along then they didn’t have that buffer so they wouldn’t be affected by this squad limit issue.
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“No other clubs have pushed to that absolute limit. They have lost €350 million (£300m/$415m) in revenue since the pandemic, so it is not normal really, especially in our league, to push right to that last Euro in the salary limit.
“If they have to cancel contracts, maybe it is cheaper than the money they are paying for their wage bill. I think they are on the right path.
“I have spoken to some of their players who know they are not taken into account for next year and want to leave. Sometimes to be released from a contract means a financially penalty.”