La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Lionel Messi will reportedly turn down a gesture of goodwill from former Barcelona team-mate Neymar when he completes his proposed move to Paris Saint-Germain. Barca shook world football by announcing the departure of the legendary forward on Thursday as they were unable to register him ahead of the new La Liga campaign.
The Spanish giants cannot register new players because they are over the wage club that each of La Liga’s clubs must abide by.
Messi would technically have been a new signing for Barca because they allowed him to become a free agent by failing to agree a new deal before June 30.
The 34-year-old’s departure was confirmed in a brief statement by Barca, who placed blame on La Liga’s player registration rules.
Messi then bid farewell in an emotional press conference on Friday.
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Attention soon turned to who Messi would play for next, having spent 21 years with the Catalan club.
PSG have jumped to the front of the queue after Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola last week ruled out a reunion with his former player.
Messi will link up with ex-Barca colleague Neymar at the French side, and the Brazilian has reportedly offered a welcoming present.
According to Marca, Neymar is prepared to give up the No 10 shirt that became synonymous with Messi during his time with the Catalan club.
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Neymar has worn the number since his world-record £200m move from Barca in 2017.
However, the Spanish outlet continues that Messi has turned down the gesture and PSG are making arrangements for a different number with significant connotations.
Two possibilities are No 19 or No 30, both worn by Messi before he took No 10 at Barca.
Messi broke into the La Liga giants’ first team wearing 30 in 2004, making his debut against Espanyol.
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He then scored his first senior goal while wearing the number in a 2-0 win over Albacete in May 2005.
The La Masia graduate wore 30 for a further season before taking No 19 ahead of the 2006-07 campaign.
Messi wore that for two years before taking No 10 in 2008 following Ronaldinho’s departure to AC Milan.
No 10 was Messi’s number at Barca for 13 years but he will now relinquish the digits following his exit.
He scored a staggering 672 goals in 778 appearances across all competitions for the club.
The No 19 shirt at PSG is taken by Pablo Sarabia but it is likely that the winger will be persuaded to hand it over should Messi join.
No 30 is occupied by goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier.
Numbers that are vacant include 13, 25, 26, 28, 33 and 39.
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