Lionel Messi set to break silence over Barcelona exit at press conference

Lionel Messi will speak about his Barcelona exit and future at a press conference from the Camp Nou on Sunday.

FC Barcelona confirmed on Thursday that Messi will not be re-signing with the club, despite agreeing a new contract and wanting to stay.

The 34-year-old’s previous deal expired on 1 July, but La Liga’s Financial Fair Play restrictions mean that Barca cannot afford to hand him the new deal they had agreed.

Messi had even agreed to take a 50 per cent pay cut in order to sign the five-year deal, but it is still not feasible under league rules, with the club already spending far too much on wages.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta spoke at a press conference on Friday confirming that Messi would be leaving and now the Argentinian will speak out for the first time.

The legendary forward is yet to make a statement since his departure was confirmed, but he will do so at 11am UK time on Sunday 8 August.

Whether Messi will announce where he will move to is yet to be seen, although Paris Saint-Germain have emerged as favourites to sign him.

Talks are already underway and Messi has the chance to play with his friend Neymar again after their time together at Barca, also linking up with Kylian Mbappe in an immense front three.

Manchester City has also been mooted as a possible destination, as has Chelsea, but PSG are by far the most likely option at this stage, where Messi would also be joining compatriots Mauricio Pochettino and Angel Di Maria.

Laporta went into some detail on the situation on Friday, saying that Messi already had offers from elsewhere and that, although it was an upsetting situation, letting him go is the right thing for the club.

‘The player has got other offers,’ said Laporta. ‘We had a limit of time for us and also for him. If the FFP does not change, and it looks like it will not, then the player needed to look after his future.

‘We had a first agreement of two years to pay over five years. Messi has opened the door to all kinds of help to make it happen. We thought we could do it, but FFP stopped it. Then, we had a deal of five years, agreed by Leo, even though we thought of two years with us.

‘Two years made sense for him too as he has other plans after that. Again we thought FFP would accept it, but a technical analysis of La Liga told us that the deal would not work either.

‘Sadly we have such a bad financial past that means the wages are 110 per cent of the income,’ he said. ‘That means we have no flexibility. The situation is worse than we were told and what we had calculated based on official data.

‘The debt is bigger than expected. That is linked to FFP of course. The new contract with Messi could not be approved. On that, we don’t agree with the deal La Liga has reached because it mortgages us for half a century.

‘The club is above players, coaches, directors. Messi wanted to stay. I want to thank those that negotiated for months with plenty of time and interest, in such a complicated negotiation. It had to be done in a determined time as he had other offers, plus within FFP, but this process at some point you have to stop.

‘You have to leave feelings aside, you have to look at numbers with a cold head. We wanted La Liga to be more flexible but this is no excuse, we knew the rules and what we have been left with from the previous board makes it all impossible.

‘I am sad but I also think that we have done the best for Barcelona.’

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