Did Super League Ambitions Cost Barcelona Lionel Messi?

New revelations indicate that Barcelona could have done much more to keep Lionel Messi, before deciding not to proceed with offering the player a new contract. Following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid to Juventus three seasons ago, LaLiga heads into a new era without its two biggest superstars, both of whom attracted millions of adoring fans.

However, while Barcelona seem eager to accuse LaLiga of being inflexible regarding competition spending regulations, league president Javier Tebas has blamed the club for mismanaging finances. Likewise, he and the two Spanish giants are locked in a bitter feud over their ambitions to form a new European Super League.

Why Barcelona Ended Messi Renewal Negotiations

When they announced that Messi would not be staying at the club, the official FC Barcelona statement cited that it was impossible to proceed because of current LaLiga regulations. Speaking later, club president Joan Laporta also suggested that LaLiga could have shown a little more flexibility, which might have allowed the best player in the world to stay at Barcelona. Nevertheless, those regulations are in place to serve as a safeguard for the whole competition.

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For almost a decade now, LaLiga has made the same kind of provisions for teams in the top two divisions of Spanish football. As part of their financial fair play structure, current regulations include the strict enforcements of salary and spending caps, why all 20 teams in LaLiga must adhere to. The issue for Barcelona is they were more than 40% over those caps, before deciding not to pursue giving Messi a new contract.

Reading Between the Lines of a Power Struggle

Although the departure of Messi came as a huge shock to fans, according to stunning media reports in Spain, the Argentine superstar appears to have been caught in the middle of a power struggle. This is currently being fought between LaLiga and the two Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Both clubs were keen advocates for the launch of a new Super League, aimed at bringing the richest and most powerful clubs in Europe together.

While the idea of a Super League was rejected by fans and football governing bodies alike, including LaLiga and UEFA, Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, along with Juventus in Italy, have refused to renounce their plans unlike all the other clubs that were implicated. Meanwhile, despite being huge rivals on the pitch, Real Madrid and Barcelona now appear to have closed ranks, rejecting recent proposals by LaLiga for an investment proposal.

LaLiga agreed a strategic partnership with CVC, a private equity and investment company, which aims to provide a cash injection of €2.7 billion. The aim of this deal would be to provide clubs with additional funding for infrastructure improvements, alongside measures to raise the profile of LaLiga around the world, along with increasing the footprint of the Spanish competition within the entertainment sector.

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Barcelona Still Struggling to Balance the Books

Despite no longer having the enormous wages of Messi on the books, reportedly the biggest in sports history valued at €555 million over the last four seasons, Barcelona still have plenty of work ahead and further deficits to resolve. Still over the salary and spending cap set by LaLiga, further player departures could be in the pipeline. These could include Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, who are both open to offers.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez flatly rejected LaLiga proposals, for the investment plan backed by CVC, ahead of a vote on the matter involving all clubs. Given that part of this plan insisted upon complete rejection of any Super League plans, Joan Laporta and FC Barcelona also rejected the new proposals from LaLiga, which could have made an important contribution towards keeping Lionel Messi at the club.

As more news regarding the situation at Barcelona comes to light, with more insights revealed by one board member who resigned the day after Messi left the club, journalists and fans alike in Spain are being left completely dumbfounded. Increasingly, it seems Laporta and Barcelona placed more value in a failed Super League coup, than keeping the greatest football player of all time on their books.

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