WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done

collyrob 8:59 Thu Aug 5
Leaving barca officially

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Joe C 3:35 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
RBshorty 2:02 Tue Aug 10

Gotcha! Completely missed that...

RBshorty 2:02 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
Joe C

I’m being sarcastic mate.

Far Cough 1:59 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
Would Messi and Neymar work together?

I'm not sure it will

Rossal 1:56 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
theyll walk the title, wouldnt even need a manager for it

but its the champions league they crave, surely only a man city or chelsea etc could stop them?

Their team at the moment is a beast......but its hard to raise your level needed to win a champs league semi or final when youre playing shit teams most weeks domestically

⚒️ 1:53 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
If Poch can’t win the title now, then he really is a fraud.

Joe C 1:51 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
RBshorty 1:43 Tue Aug 10

Why's he gone to France then?

collyrob 1:49 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
That psg squad is seriously stacked. If they don’t win the CL, poch is a fraud

Rossal 1:47 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
Disappointed in him, bottled the prem

Still £1M a week is being reported so who can blame him

RBshorty 1:43 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
Great to see he wants to still test himself at the top level.

Far Cough 1:38 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
⚒️nope, Lionel Messi agrees Paris St-Germain deal


⚒️ 8:44 Tue Aug 10
Re: Messi
It looks like he’s staying at Barca.

Definitely didn’t see that coming!

Irish Hammer 4:41 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi
Obviously it’s a pretty long article but explains exactly what happened and why. Makes perfect sense of the press conference. Worth a read imo if your interested in the story.

Messi left Barcelona because of the club, not because of La Liga

Lionel Messi’s tremendously emotional farewell press conference at the Nou Camp on Sunday morning made clear that he had been hugely surprised and saddened by how things have played out over the previous couple of days — that up until the very last moment, he still expected and had been assured that he would continue as a Barcelona player.

That was evident from how Messi struggled for words as he stepped up to the podium in the stadium’s 1899 auditorium (named for the year the club was founded), and looked out at so many present and past team-mates who were also fighting back tears and struggling to take on board what they were witnessing.

When he did speak, the emotion and power of his message were blatantly obvious, his bonds with the club and city where he made his career and his life still as strong as ever. If it had been up to him he would be continuing as a Barcelona player, for sure.

But it was also just as evident that neither Messi, his father and agent Jorge, nor their legal advisors, fully understood how the combination of La Liga’s financial controls and Barcelona’s awful finances had made continuing that career and life absolutely impossible.

Joan Laporta and his Barcelona board knew the bones of the situation, both before and after Laporta was re-elected for a second spell as club president in March. They were all well aware the club would have to make huge cuts to their wage bill, and bring in significant transfer revenues in this window, for there to be any chance of Messi staying on.

La Liga’s president Javier Tebas was also 100 per cent clear all through the summer that there could be no exceptions to the competition’s financial fair play regulations, even for a six-time Ballon d’Or winner. When Laporta kept publicly asking for flexibility, Tebas each time firmly replied that he would like Messi to stay, but it was up to Barcelona to find a way for that to happen within the existing regulations.

Somewhere along the way, there was a huge breakdown in communication and understanding.

The Messi camp was led to believe, or wanted to believe, that everything would turn out OK, that he could keep earning quite a lot of money — even if it was much less than before — while playing for the club he loves in the city he and his family love.

That was a complete misreading of the situation, as they have only realised in the last few days.

The starkness of Barcelona’s situation has long been public knowledge. Messi himself said in his last public interview, seven months ago, that “things at the moment are really, really bad”.

It was also clear that their €1.3 billion debts meant that the club’s salary bill would have to drop significantly from its 2019-20 peak of €671 million to not more than €200 million for 2021-22. In other words, from paying the most wages in world sport to being somewhere around the level of what Everton or Aston Villaspend on salaries.

Despite this, Barcelona actually began this summer by adding more players to their squad (Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia, Emerson Royal). They would also have signed Georginio Wijnaldum, only for Paris Saint-Germain to gazump their contract offer at the last minute.

The Athletic reported in mid-July that neither Messi nor the four new players could be registered for the new season unless savings of at least €200 million were found. But nothing really happened.

Barcelona cut a few million here and there by moving on kids and squad players such as Junior Firpo and Carles Alena. The biggest earners on the wage bill — misjudged signings of the last few years including Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, plus veterans including Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets — all remained in place. Even Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanicare still there, despite blatant attempts to force them out of the club in recent weeks.

Messi was devastated to leave Barcelona, breaking down during his press conference
Messi is devastated to leave Barcelona, breaking down during Sunday’s farewell press conference (Photo: Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
And yet Laporta and much of the Catalan sports press continued to spread the word that it would all be fine, that a way would be found for Messi to continue at the club.

That attitude was taken into the negotiations with Messi’s father last month. Both sides say the negotiations were not difficult — the 34-year-old player quickly agreed to accept a 50 per cent pay cut and to play for Barcelona for two more seasons but to receive the money over five years. That was a piece of accounting sleight of hand that, it was claimed, would be more acceptable to Tebas and La Liga’s accountants.

That was the agreement Messi thought was in place when he went to Ibiza for the final leg of his pre-season break in late July.

There has been a lot of talk these last few days about a now-infamous photo taken with a group of Paris Saint-Germain players, including his Argentina team-mates Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes and ex-Barcelona colleague Neymar, during those holidays. But Messi made clear during Sunday morning’s press conference that, when that photo was taken, he was still 100 per cent sure he was going to continue as a Barcelona player. Di Maria and Neymar did joke with him that night, pleading with him to join them in Paris, but in Messi’s head that was not an option — he and his family were still definitely staying in the Catalan capital.

While Messi was in Ibiza, Laporta was his usual confident and unruffled self and continued to spread the idea that it was all on course to be sorted. There were just a few final details to be ironed out with La Liga, the Barca president insisted. He even suggested six days ago that Messi would be at the Nou Camp tonight (Sunday) for the Gamper Trophy season curtain-raiser against Juventus tonight.

Right up until Thursday — when Messi popped back from Ibiza to sign the contract that had already been agreed, and his father made the longer flight from Argentina to also be present at the momentous occasion — the player’s camp was convinced these La Liga regulations were not going to be a problem.

Lionel Messi trophies were on display at the press conference (Photo: Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
This past Wednesday also brought the revelation La Liga was aiming to sell 10 per cent of its commercial operations to investors CVC Capital Partners for €2.7 billion. It was immediately claimed by Catalan media very close to the club hierarchy that Barcelona’s share of this money meant their league-imposed salary limit would rise sufficiently to register Messi (and the other four new players).

During a press conference on Friday, Laporta suggested La Liga had tried to pressure Barcelona into accepting the CVC deal by offering them a way to register Messi in some kind of quid pro quo agreement. La Liga sources have denied to The Athletic that such a bargain was ever proposed, and explained the terms of the deal mean there was zero possibility the CVC money could have been used to meet the 2020-21 salary cap.

Laporta also stressed how the “awful management” of the club under the previous board had led to this situation. He said that an audit had just recently shown Barcelona’s finances were “much worse” than his new regime had feared and that the losses for the 2020-21 season would not be around €200 million as expected but actually more than double that figure — €487 million.

The indication was that this was another reason why Messi could not stay. Not wrong but not the full story either.

A lawyer by training and a politician by personality, Laporta also kept saying during Friday’s press conference that he had maintained hope re-signing Messi was going to be possible, right up until this Wednesday. That was the message being transmitted to the player’s camp too — right up until a meeting with his father the next day. Messi did not go to that meeting himself. His only communication with Laporta this week has been via text message.

There had been a complete about-turn.

The message now being communicated to the Messis was that there was zero possibility of Lionel staying at the club. It was all over, he would not be continuing as a Barcelona player, and they were doing him the favour of letting him know now so he had time to find himself a new club in time for the coming season.

There is no way that Laporta — or any Barcelona director or executive — could have done such a complete turnaround in their thinking in just a few days.

While Messi and his father were convinced he was going to stay, the club hierarchy was well aware of how difficult achieving that outcome was going to be.

Laporta said clearly on Friday that even with Messi’s salary cut, Barcelona’s wages would be at 110 per cent of the club revenues. Best practice — and La Liga rules — demand a ratio of 70 per cent. Even with Messi off the books, wages remain at 95 per cent of revenue and Laporta admitted there was “more work to be done” on persuading some players to accept pay cuts and selling others before Depay, Aguero, Garcia and Emerson can be registered.

Messi confirmed that himself on Sunday morning — “I had lowered my salary by 50 per cent, that was agreed, and they (the club) did not ask me for anything else after that.” This quashed the idea floating around some quarters that the 34-year-old could have accepted an even lower salary, or just agreed to play next season for free, to help the club he loves out.

The debate over whether someone at the very top of his profession, who is still good enough to score 30 La Liga goals in 35 appearances last season then lead his country to win the Copa America a month ago, should make such a gesture can be put aside.

Barcelona never even suggested it to Messi or his family — and even if he had come up with the idea himself, him not taking a penny in wages next season would not have resolved the issue.

Messi was very clear through Sunday’s opening statement and subsequent Q&A with journalists that he did not want to leave behind any bad feelings towards Barcelona or their fans. He was still in love with the club, saw himself returning “in whatever role” at some point in the future, and that the city he moved to as a 13-year-old would always be ­“home” for him, wife Antonella and their three “Catalan-Argentinian” children. It hurt him hugely to be saying goodbye this way, to not even have a send-off in a full Nou Camp, and he wanted the fans to know that.

“I feel very sad as I have to leave this club, a club I love, in a moment I did not expect,” Messi said. “I never lie, I have always been up front, told the truth. Last year I wanted to leave. This year, no — that’s why I’m sad.”

He also made clear he did not have any problems with La Liga or Tebas.

One journalist offered up the chance to push blame their way for him having to leave, but Messi did not go down that route.

“I only know it is not possible for La Liga, for the club’s debts, that the club cannot go further into debt,” he replied. “I have nothing (bad) to say about Tebas. Only met him a few times, and it was all friendly. I have no problem with Tebas.”

As the press conference continued Messi continually returned to the idea that he had always been honest with everyone.

“Everyone was clear that I would continue, it was all sorted, we have always been sincere with the fans — at least, I have,” he said. “On my side, I have never tricked the fans.”

This left open the idea that someone had been less than completely honest during all that had happened.

Messi clearly did not want to say anything bad about Barcelona or anybody at the club, while also still leaving the impression that he had been shocked at how the past week had unfolded and was now painfully unhappy to be leaving when he had been completely sure all would be OK.

There was never any direct criticism of Laporta or anybody else but there were a few moments, when he was pressed on whether everyone involved had been equally transparent and honest, that he held his tongue before answering.

“We did everything possible, and it couldn’t be,” he said, after being asked whether there was anything more he could have done to stay at Barcelona. “When you don’t speak often, other things come out, everyone can give their opinion. But that is not always true. I can only speak for myself. I’ve always been honest, transparent, never tricked anyone. That was always most important for me, for the fans to know that.”

The impression was left that it was the Barcelona side who had not been completely forthcoming with the truth.

Laporta and his fellow directors and executives were surely well aware of how difficult it was going to be to keep Messi at the club, no matter what salary he was (or wasn’t) being paid, but they continued in public and private to push the idea that all the problems could be resolved and he would be able to stay.

Messi’s message on Sunday was that he had fully believed what he was being told, right up until the moment he was told the exact opposite.

This is how he is leaving Barcelona — against his will, and having suffered what was clearly an emotional breaking of the connection, and quite possibly traumatic shock.

It now looks very like both he and his father were completely unrealistic, or even naive, in accepting what they were told about how everything would work out fine.

Now life must go on — for both parties.

Barcelona continue their pre-season preparations in Sunday evening’s Gamper Trophy, with Messi’s No 10 jersey left vacant.

Depay has the No 9 shirt, but Aguero — a countryman and close friend of Messi, who chose Barcelona as his free-agent post-Manchester City destination to play alongside him — was notably ruled out with what the club say is a calf injury.

None of the summer signings is likely to be registered in time for next Sunday’s La Liga opener at home to Real Sociedad. As Laporta made clear, even without Messi’s wages, their financial situation remains hugely challenging. Some players still face huge pay cuts and others are clearly up for sale.

How Ronald Koeman’s team are going to look as they take on the new season is unclear.

Messi himself would not confirm on Sunday morning that he was set to join PSG, but The Athletic’s reporting has that as almost completely certain. The Ligue 1 club and their Qatari owners are proud of what they see as a “bargain” coup they have pulled off in getting Messi to the Parc des Princes.

Given he has not done any pre-season training and the clear emotional strains of the last few days, when Messi might be physically and mentally ready to actually start the next stage of his career will also be fascinating.

The impression from the last few days in Catalonia is that Barcelona have already been making their preparations to move on from Messi.

But Messi has yet to even begin to really move on from the club, and city, he loves.

Russ of the BML 4:37 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi
collyrob 1:50 Sun Aug 8

He didn't take a pay cut. He offered to but it was refused. His annual salary at Barca is an eye-watering £59m. So even at 50% is still just shy of £30m and its just too much of a burden if they want to rebuild.

But, that's besides the point, and as you have said, they can't register him anyway. They have made up their mind he is going and so have cut him off. Can't blame them for that if they are in financial trouble.

That whole press conference was just fucking embarrassing. I mean, for fuck sake, get a grip. How on earth did Barca agree to that? I suppose somebody in Messi's camp requested for all the years of service. To allow him to offer his own reasons for leaving and stand there crying like a fucking baby. It was tragic.

That's why I prefer Ronaldo. You go to a club, do the business and leave when the time is right. End of. I bet Ronaldo was watching that press conference and smirking.

collyrob 3:52 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi

stewie griffin 1:13 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi

Yeah Cole is clearly one of the best full backs of the last 20 years. But I do remember a game at the bridge when Messi was wearing the yellow number 19 shirt, and he ran cole ragged, I think cole and essien ended up lashing out at him at the corner flag.

JimmyT 2:15 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi
Active top scorers against English top 6 sides:

Jamie Vardy (Leicester) - 37
Eden Hazard (Chelsea, Real Madrid) - 29
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus) - 28
Leo Messi (Barcelona) - 26
Harry Kane (Tottenham) - 26
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) -18

Stats accurate up to January 2021.

icwhs 1:46 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi
Barcelona have been breaking the La Liga wage rules for years, as they were FFP

I hope they do a Rangers and go into liquidation.

stewie griffin 1:13 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi
collyrob 12:58 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi

not true tbf. Never scored against Ashley COLE. In fact, him and Ronaldo scored 1 goal in 16 games when up against him directly.
Comfortably the most underrated player of the last 20 years. Because he cheated on some Geordie bint.
He's played 835 mins against Chelsea more than against any other team in the Champions League. Didn't score in the first 730, but got 3 in the next two games once Cole had retired.

Northern Sold 12:58 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi
I wonder if he joined us whether he could win us the EPL and some European trophies.... yeah I doubt it... and for that reason he will always be a poorer version of Diego Armando Maradona

collyrob 12:58 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi

wd40 12:55 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi

Surely nobody really thinks that? He’s battered every English team he’s played against. I don’t think he’d be too worried about Ryan Shawcross😂

Lee Trundle 12:57 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi
"He could play for free if he really wanted to stay."

No he couldn't. La Liga wouldn't have allowed them to register him as a player because of their rules.

Umtiti is getting pelters from all their fans at the moment because he refused a wage cut for Messi.

All this is Barcelona's fault for their failure to manage the accounts properly, and for them thinking everything would be alright because they're above the rules. Fuck 'em.

wd40 12:55 Mon Aug 9
Re: Messi
basic reply and yes boring but needs saying .

like to see him turn it on a cold wet Tuesday night Stoke away with hard nose big mouth Irish defender up his arse every second.

Page 1 - Next

Copyright 2006 WHO.NET | Powered by: