‘Barca in ICU but improving’ – Laporta on the financial strife that cost the club Messi

Robin Bairner
  • Robin Bairner
  • Updated: September 7, 2021, 00:13 CEST
  • 3 min read
Lionel Messi, Barcelona, 2020/21, La Liga

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has spoken frankly of the financial problems that the club is suffering, which ultimately prevented them from extending Lionel Messi’s contract.

Barca endured tremendous financial strain in the summer, having accrued debts of around €1.3 billion.

The Catalans struggled to drive the wage bill down sufficiently to allow them to sign Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay on free transfers, while they also lost Messi to Paris Saint-Germain.

Laporta spoke to Onze about the situation and explained where Barcelona presently find themselves.

“The patient is in ICU but improving and there is data to indicate it,” Laporta explained.

“The reduction is important, from 110% wages to turnover ratio to 80%. It was not easy to do with signed contracts.

We have some heroes who are Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and now we will finish with Sergi Roberto
- Joan Laporta

“We have some heroes who are Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and now we will finish with Sergi Roberto. They reduced their contracts for Barcelona, because they are committed to the club.

“We’ll continue with the others, but we hoped that the captains would set an example. They were heroes. The target is between 65 and 70%.”

Why Messi left Barcelona

Lionel Messi, Barcelona, 2020/21, La Liga

He then detailed the circumstances that saw Messi depart after over 20 years at Barcelona.

“We were pressured and told: ‘Either you sign the CVC agreement with La Liga, which mortgaged Barcelona’s TV rights for half a century, or you will not meet financial fair play,’” he said.

“We had a two-year agreement, which La Liga did not accept in principle so we restructured it into a five-year deal, which La Liga said they agreed with better. But on 5 August, they told us we had to sign the CVC thing. We couldn’t wait and neither could they.

“We were sorry and disappointed to see hm go. It is not the end I imagined for Messi at Barcelona. We’ll always have eternal gratitude and I think he will always be a Barcelona player.”

Messi signed a two-year deal with an option of a third with PSG early in August.