Lionel Messi’s new Barcelona contract has been delayed until the LaLiga giants can sell players, confirms Joan Laporta… as Catalans aim to respect UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules amid £1bn debt
- Lionel Messi is expected to sign a new two-year contract at Barcelona this year
- The Argentine handed in a transfer request 12 months ago but has agreed to stay
- Joan Laporta says Barcelona need to sell players before securing Messi’s future
- The 33-year-old has taken a pay cut but Barcelona want to respect FFP rules
- Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho are linked with exits
The Barcelona talisman is widely expected to stay at the Camp Nou just 12 months after the Argentine handed in a transfer request at the club, with Messi understood to be signing a new two-year contract with the Catalans.
But Barcelona president Laporta insists the club must respect UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules so cannot tie Messi down to a new deal yet, with the Catalans chief confirming that the 33-year-old is helping the club out with a pay cut.
Lionel Messi’s Barcelona contract cannot be signed unless they sell players, says Joan Laporta
The Barcelona captain (left) is expected to sign a new two-year deal with Laporta’s (right) team
Laporta told the club’s official website: ‘In economic terms, he has made it very easy, but financial fair play is another battleground. We have to follow the rules, we will follow them.
‘There will be more sales and loans. Without paying a transfer fee. We will do a lot of loans, because we have a very high sports payroll compared to other clubs.’
At the start of February, Barcelona’s debt was considered to be at around £1billion – meaning major transfer targets are unlikely to take place this summer.
The Catalans reported a debt of £1billion in February leaving their financial situation in ruins
Furthermore, four audits are currently circling round the club to determine the extent of Barcelona’s financial woes, which could have a major impact on their player recruitment plans for the coming year.
The club have already signed Manchester City duo Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero on free transfers and while they missed out on former Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum to PSG, Barcelona could snap up Lyon captain Memphis Depay on a free transfer.
Meanwhile, the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and defender Junior Firpo have been linked with exits from the Camp Nou this summer.
The likes of Antoine Griezmann (right) and Philippe Coutinho (centre) are linked with exits
The priority for Barcelona, however, is to keep Messi at the club – who could reach 700 goals for the LaLiga giants this season, including 38 in all competitions last term.
Laporta maintains that Messi will remain at Barcelona no matter what other transfer activity they do and that new signing Aguero is playing his role in the Argentina remaining at the club.
The Barcelona president added: ‘Leo Messi’s boots will continue on the Camp Nou pitch. He wants to stay. I do not contemplate a no.
Laporta (above) insists that Messi will remain at the club no matter what the transfer plans are
‘It isn’t easy. We’ll do what we can. There is no need to seduce him, he is determined if there are a series of circumstances to stay.
‘He is OK but he hasn’t signed yet. Kun Aguero tells him every day: ‘Sign that, we will play together.’