Leo Messi ceased to be a Barcelona player after LaLiga did not give Barcelona the go-ahead to process his new contract. It exceeded the club's financial limits. Joan Laporta, the president, even thought the Argentine might have offered to play for free, a fanciful idea that Eduard Romeu, the economic vice-president, views favourably.
"I am just as deluded as the president, yes. It's very legitimate what Messi has done, it's not a criticism. But, seeing all the inconveniences they put in our way and with the effort the club was making, I thought he could play for free. Why shouldn't LaLiga accept it? It's very legitimate that a player could make this act of affection for a club, for some colours," he said in an interview with 'TV3'.
He was also asked about another important monetary aspect, the sponsor that will occupy the centre of the Barcelona shirt next season. Rakuten's contract ends in June. "We don't look at the current value, but at the pre-pandemic. Whoever wants to wear the name on the shirt has to pay for it," he said.
On the great expense that the board is facing to be able to take on the 'Espai Barça', promoted during Josep Maria Bartomeu's time, he explained: "It is a project that will only be paid for with extraordinary income. It will not generate extra costs for the club, but will bring in new resources thanks to the exploitation of the space.
Could Messi play for free at Barca?
No, Messi could not play for free at Barcelona. LaLiga's salary cap rules do not allow a club to sign a player on a salary of less than half of what he earned last season. If the Argentinian was earning around 70 million euros before renewing, the minimum he could earn the following year was 35 million euros.
The employers' association carries out this control measure to prevent teams from hiding figures. The institution understands that if a player goes from being paid so much to being paid so little, there could be irregularities in his signing or in his contract extension. This is a rule that has already affected clubs in both the first and second divisions.
Standout matches today