PSG ruled out, Messi’s future is up in the air | Sports

The countdown to the life of Lionel Messi in Paris has begun. The Argentine did not show up for PSG training this Wednesday morning and no one was surprised. The French entity punished the captain of the Albiceleste with a 15-day suspension of employment and salary after the Rosario traveled without authorization from the club to Saudi Arabia, a country and a league that has millions left over and that sighs for its football . The sanction, in any case, is not official. Although PSG sources clarify to EL PAÍS: “We want players committed to the club, to the fans and to Paris.” The Messi family, on the other hand, prefers not to comment. The Messis want to end their journey in Paris in the best possible way. A journey that had already ended a month ago, when Jorge, the player’s representative and father, warned Luis Campos, PSG’s sports director, that they would not continue. There is, they say, a sports project.

In each negotiation led by Jorge Messi, a question is repeated. “How will the team be next season?” In February, the player’s father traveled to Paris to meet with the PSG leadership. Everything seemed headed for a simple negotiation, after in November both parties agreed orally to execute the contract clause that, due to the same economic conditions, was extended for one more season. However, everything went wrong. The problem, both parties say, was not economic. “Messi and Neymar charge less money than Mbappé, but since they are foreigners, they have better tax benefits,” they stress from Paris. But PSG was not clear about its sporting future. He couldn’t guarantee signings for Messi or the name of the next coach. The Qataris do not like to be made to wait or Messi to lose. So when Bayern erased PSG from the Champions League, the Argentine understood that he no longer had anything to do in Paris.

And Barcelona, ​​eager for good news for their fans after the outbreak of the Negreira case, contacted 10 to offer him a possible tribute. Joan Laporta, however, needed much more than a farewell party to excite his fans. And in the offices they began to work on the financial maneuver that would allow them to register Messi in LaLiga.

A more than complex maneuver. “We cannot think about the signing of Leo if we do not register the contracts of Araujo and Gavi beforehand,” explain sources from the sports management. The Uruguayan and the Andalusian signed their respective contracts last year. However, by not complying with financial fair play, Barcelona could not register them. And if he does not provide a solution, both players will be released on June 30. It is by no means the only economic problem. The club is working on a comprehensive cost reduction, a feasibility plan to present in LaLiga. “We are asking them for clarifications,” say employer sources.

“We have 800 million in income and 1,000 million in expenses,” Camp Nou sources explain. The Barcelona has begun the reduction of expenses. According to the accounts of the economic area, the club presented LaLiga with a scenario in which it has already budgeted 120 million fewer expenses in the 2023-2024 academic year.

The idea is to cut the payroll of employees: 200 people who represent close to 20 million. The closure of Barça TV has already been announced: another 15 million less. And they aspire to reduce the salary mass of the first team. “We are close to 480 million, the ideal would be to put it at 450, including amortizations,” they complete. Mateu Alemany had contacted some of Xavi’s players to try to negotiate a salary reduction. “They ask us for something similar to what we did in the covid,” they explain from the locker room. But everything has been on hold since Alemany resigned last Tuesday; The technical secretary, Jordi Cruyff, is not clear about his future. What they do have clear is that no footballer can enter if there are no exits before. “It’s not a sales issue, it’s a payroll issue,” they recall from the sports area.

Barcelona is obliged to part with players (Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Kessié and Raphinha are the main candidates) to later sign. And first you have to register the contracts already agreed. That is to say, the links between Araujo, Gavi, Marcos Alonso, Sergi Roberto and Íñigo Martínez (he already agreed to his arrival at Barça). Messi is at the tail. “In addition,” they clarify in LaLiga, “Messi’s contract cannot be less than 25 million, according to the calculations we make regarding what he earns at PSG.”

Messi, who regularly follows Barcelona news and watches the matches of Xavi’s team, is aware of the situation the club is going through: from Negreira case, the possible sanction of the UEFA and the transfer to Montjuïc. And he is especially affected by the closure of Barça TV. In the offices they follow his: “With Leo, exile to Montjuïc is going to be fun. If Messi returns it is populism, it could be. The same populism that led us to Xavi. And it served us. We won the League.”

With PSG ruled out and with Barça in an economic crisis, Messi’s future is a coin in the air. He has an option that is not as tempting in sports as he is greedy economically: 400 million is offered by Al-Hilal from Saudi Arabia.

The Barcelona dressing room would receive the 10 with open arms

“There is a lack of leadership here. Missing a player who infects. Lewandowski goes to his, Jordi Alba is as he is and Busquets does not know what he will do with his life, ”explains a player from the Barça first team. “If Leo returns, something different is generated. His presence forces us to win, ”concludes one of the veterans of the Barcelona squad. But it is not only the old guard that wants the 10. “The youngsters would love to see him come back. For guys like Gavi, Pedri and Araujo it’s a dream to play with Leo”, underlines a Barça employee. And the Rosario not only has the support of the dressing room. The coaching staff has been chasing the Argentine for a long time. And even he already sees him in the field with Pedri.

It happens, however, that not everyone at Barça is so optimistic. There are those who think at the Camp Nou that Messi’s return would eclipse the growth of new leadership, as well as resurrect old vices. Nor would it help to rejuvenate the squad, since Busquets and Jordi Alba would choose to stay at the club.

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