Even if you’ve never watched a single game of football in your life, you probably know who Lionel Messi is.
Just like Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, Lionel Messi rose to fame because of his talent on the football pitch, and is now a celebrity known all over the world.
Since the age of 13, Messi has been playing for FC Barcelona, one of the biggest and most successful clubs in Spain and the world.
A few days ago, football fans all over the world received some shocking news about the Argentinian wizard.
Messi Leaves Barcelona; Breaks Into Tears During Farewell Speech
Yes, after 21 years at the club, Messi finally has to bid the club adieu.
In an emotional press conference, Messi was seen breaking down several times before he even delivered his speech.
He tried his best to keep it together, but it was clearly too hard.
“These recent days I’ve been thinking, giving a lot of thought to what I can say,” he said, after a long silence.
“And the truth is that I can’t think of anything, this is really difficult for me after so many years.”
“I’ve been here my entire life, I’m not ready for this,” he said.
He said he and his family were convinced they would stay at the club, which is what they wanted “more than anything”.
“We were at home, and we thought we’d be staying here in Barcelona, the time we’ve hard here and with the city and football has been amazing.”
“But today, I have to say goodbye to all of this.”
He said that after spending 21 years in the city of Barcelona he is finally leaving with his wife and three kids.
He then paid tribute to the club where he thought he’d be ending his career.
“For this club I have so much respect. So many beautiful things have happened. Also some bad things, but all this helped me to grow and improve and make me the person I am today,” he said.
“I gave everything for this shirt from the first day until the very last. The truth is that I am leaving.
“I would love to be able to go in a different way. I never imagined it this way. I didn’t think I would have to say goodbye,” he added.
So, if Messi wanted to stay, and the club wanted to keep him since he’s arguably the best footballer in history, why are they going their separate ways?
Poor Financial Situation & Restrictions From Spanish League
One thing you should know about Barcelona is that while they’re one of the biggest clubs in the world, they are struggling financially at the moment.
The club has been suffering huge losses largely caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simply put, Barcelona couldn’t afford to pay Messi’s wages.
The club and player actually came to an agreement where Messi would agree to a 50% reduction in wages, but the deal didn’t comply with the financial rules of La Liga – the top professional football division of the Spanish football league.
As the club said in a statement: “Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, 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 La Liga rule which the agreement seems to have flouted is the salary cap for all teams which limits player wages and acquisition costs to 70% of club revenues. Even without Messi, salaries would account for 95% of Barcelona’s income.
So it’s less La Liga’s fault and more Barca’s for not complying with the financial regulations.
However, Messi is certain that he will return to the city he called home for so long.
“I can tell you in a few years we want to come back because this is my home. I am just really grateful to my teammates and former teammates, everyone that has been by my side. There are so many people,” he said.
Messi noted that he’s not been able to play in front of a full crowd due to the pandemic, nor say a proper goodbye.
“But it has to be this way, and I’m so grateful for all the love that everyone has shown me because I’ve had some such great moments here over the years, some bad ones too but the love people have shown me has always been the same,” he said.
It’s unclear where he’s headed, but some reputed journalists believe it’s PSG, a French club.
You can watch Messi’s speech here.
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