Departing Messi to give press conference Sunday: Barcelona

AFP , Saturday 7 Aug 2021

Messi
Time to say goodbye? Lionel Messi will hold a press conference with Barcelona on Sunday

Lionel Messi will take part in a Barcelona press conference on Sunday, three days after the club announced he was leaving after 21 years, the Spanish giants said Saturday.

The 34-year-old will take questions from the press at noon (1000 GMT), Barcelona said in a statement. They will be his first public comments since his departure was announced.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said on Friday he was not prepared "to put the club at risk" by renewing Messi's contract, as the club face up to huge financial problems ahead of the start of La Liga on August 15.

Laporta said Barcelona were no longer negotiating with Messi and the Argentine forward was considering other offers.

Paris Saint-Germain, who bought Neymar from Barcelona for a world-record 222 million euros ($264 million) in 2017, appear favourites to sign Messi according to reports in France.

Broadcaster RMC Sport reported that Messi has informed PSG of his desire to join the club and that discussions were ongoing over a two-year deal with the option of a third season.

But Barcelona-based sports daily Sport reported Saturday that Messi has received no offer from any club and no talks were underway with PSG.

Messi, Barcelona's all-time top scorer and appearance maker, had reached agreement with Barcelona to sign a five-year contract worth 50 percent less per year.

But La Liga has a salary cap, calculated on clubs' financial positions, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The cap was expected to reduce the amount Barca can spend on salaries this season by some 200 million euros ($235 million), leading Laporta to conclude they were unable to complete the deal.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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