Lionel Messi is anticipated to make his footballing decision in the upcoming hours, and the only thing that appears clear is that it won’t be at Barcelona.
Since he left Argentina when he was 12 years old to pursue his ambition of playing football, Messi has only wanted to go back to that area.
However, despite promises from the Catalan club that they would have something in place by now, his team has informed Barcelona that a decision about his future is about to be made and they cannot wait any longer for a proposal from them that has not yet arrived.
The 35-year-old World Cup winner wants to continue in Europe, but the upcoming offers from the continent have not been alluring enough since it was determined he would leave Paris St. Germain this summer.
Government representatives are already preparing for his visit in Saudi Arabia. According to information they have received, Messi has agreed to a very lucrative offer from Al-Hilal and is getting ready to depart. This can just be his camp getting ready for his choice, or it might be the most alluring offer to the player.
Inter Miami is a different option, but a rumored loan agreement between them and Barcelona, where he would spend time briefly with the Catalan club, is not likely to happen.
His new team will determine when to make his decision public and how to do it.
The Barcelona media machine has once more been activated to convince each and everyone that the player and La Liga are to blame for their inability to reach an agreement.
A jumble of falsehoods, half-truths, and plain lies from a supportive press ignore the facts that Barcelona has never made a proposal to the player and that they are unable to guarantee they will be able to do so by the deadline of September 1.
Any ambitious plan to get him back will also be impossible due to the Financial Fair Play restrictions that will be in effect for the upcoming season.
Barcelona would rather portray themselves as working tirelessly to bring Messi home, only to be thwarted by either the player himself or the purportedly “draconian” restrictions placed on them by the league’s governing body.
Simply said, it is untrue.
Yesterday, manager Xavi claimed that Messi alone was responsible for 99% of the conditions necessary for the star to rejoin the team. Perhaps that is what Xavi has been taught, but it is just words, and emphasizing his choice is based on a purposefully inaccurate interpretation of the situation.
These are the times when teams begin to implement their strategies. Barcelona now has to focus on minimizing the damage after it appeared that plans for his return were doomed. They will have to demonstrate that they did everything in their power to bring him home.
Even though playing for free is neither acceptable to La Liga nor even legal under Spanish law, Messi’s management made it plain that he was willing to play for whatever wage would have helped Barcelona stay inside FFP requirements.
According to the French daily L’Equipe, Messi might sign with Inter Miami and subsequently join Barcelona on loan. Although it originated from the American club, this notion was never likely to advance past the discussion stage.
How can Inter persuade Messi to sign with them and spend a few months on loan at Barcelona? The player, regarded by many as the best ever, would appear to be a disposable item.
In any case, despite being considered by the two teams, the player has never received a bid along such lines.
It is absurd to say La Liga is at fault. They are then followed by absurd claims that La Liga has anti-Barcelona rules in place as well. The whole opposite is true.
La Liga has laws in place to prevent clubs, like Barcelona, from having their financial stability destroyed by owners and directors.
When directors get funds, the temptation is to invest it in players, but in truth, they should be just as focused, if not more so, on paying off debt and enhancing infrastructure.
Barcelona recently presented a liquidity plan to La Liga as a result of the use of ‘financial levers’ that allowed Barcelona to invest in the club last season but cannot be utilized again. In order to demonstrate to the league that they are living within their means, all clubs are required to submit budget plans in addition to this.
They are required to submit these plans in order to reassure the league that any additional incoming funds won’t be used in a manner that would jeopardize the club’s survival.
The temptation to spend money on players instead of essential maintenance or debt repayment is comparable to purchasing outrageously expensive designer furnishings for a living room while there is a significant hole in the roof.
Clubs offer budget plans that demonstrate their income less all obligations for non-sporting expenses and any unpaid debts that must be repaid.
The funds left over are those used to compensate players. Barcelona can decide to spend all that money on Messi if they so choose, but they have never made that clear. Instead, they have suggested signing Ronald Araujo or Gavi to new contracts first.
The club will have very little money to spend because of the enormous debts they still have to pay.
Barcelona will receive such information from La Liga in writing over the coming days, but the club is already aware of those restrictions, which won’t be made public until after the markets have closed so as not to interfere with moves.
False reports of meetings between La Liga and Barcelona to discuss Messi are being spread in the meanwhile in the Catalan media, even though there is only a discrepancy of roughly 40 million euros (£34.6 million) between what the club has proposed and what La Liga wants to do to address their FFP problem. Again, this is untrue.
The most concerning aspect is that, due to Messi’s distraction, people aren’t realizing that, since president Joan Laporta took office, the debt is neither being reduced at the necessary rate nor in sufficient amounts to enable them to have a budget for the players that will allow them to be competitive in Europe.