Is Messi statement a Barcelona power play?

epa08871454 FC Barcelona's striker Leo Messi (L) duels for the ball against Juventus' winger Juan Guillermo Cuadrdo (R) during the UEFA Champions League group G between FC Barcelona and Juventus at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 08 December 2020. EPA-EFE/Alberto Estevez

The Lionel Messi saga might not be over yet, as both Barcelona and Real Madrid released statements protesting La Liga’s deal with investment fund CVC – the same one Serie A turned down – and the situations are connected.

Barca released a statement this afternoon announcing that Messi would not be renewing his contract with the club, but the wording of it was very interesting.

It clearly noted Messi and Barcelona had agreed the new deal, but “this cannot happen because of Spanish LaLiga regulations on player registration.

“As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.”

The blame is squarely on the new salary cap and Financial Fair Play rules in Spain, introduced to rein in outlandish spending after the European Super League project collapsed.

Only Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are still committed to the Super League, which is also why they were so completely against the introduction of an investment fund into their domestic tournaments.

The same reason was given by the two Spanish sides as the Lega Serie A for turning down CVC’s nearly €3 billion investment, specifically “audiovisual rights” for not just three years, but the next 50 years.

The chief negotiator on behalf of the Lega Serie A with CVC several months ago was Juventus President Andrea Agnelli, who later announced the Super League plan.

It has been mooted in Spain that Barcelona’s statement about Messi might be another way of putting pressure on La Liga to ease their regulations.

We shall see if Messi agrees a deal with another club, with PSG the main contenders at this stage, or waits for the situation to resolve itself at Camp Nou.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times notes that Barcelona’s debt has gone above €1 billion.

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