Lionel Messi spent his entire career with Barcelona – until this summer, that is. After a long period in which the player has repeatedly expressed his discontent with the way things work at the club, Messi decided to not extend his contract with the Catalan team, becoming a free agent instead. This in spite of Joan Laporta’s efforts to keep him at the club.

And if you look at his return’s live odds today, the situation is not very promising.

The rules are the rules

“I don’t know if we will see Messi in the next season”, La Liga president Javier Tebas told the press. “If more players don’t leave Barcelona, it will be impossible”. The problem is Barcelona’s salary fund that is way too high, breaking La Liga rules. “The rules are the rules, and they apply both to Alcoron and Barcelona”, Tebas told La Sexta. “It’s one thing to exceed the wage fund, and another to sign a new contract that observes the rule of 1 to 4 – being allowed to spend 1 euro for every 4 euros spent”.

Pay cuts

According to Catalan news portal RAC1, Barcelona’s wage limit for the 2021-2022 season has decreased from €347 million in the previous season to just €160 million. This means that the club has to reduce the amount it spends on wages by €187 million if it wants to register all of its summer signings – Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, Emerson Royal and Memphis Depay – for the upcoming season. If Messi is to sign a new deal, the same will apply to him.

The wage limit was reduced substantially due to the club’s severe losses last season, amounting to €350 million euros. This, of course, means that the club’s remaining players – Alba, Sergi Roberto, and Gerard Pique, among others – will also have to accept serious wage cuts this summer. And also Depay, whose salary was reportedly already reduced by 30% just weeks after his signing at the club.

Messi in, Griezmann out?

If Messi is to stay with the Catalan team, Griezmann could be on his way out of Camp Nou. The club reportedly has a plan in place already for this case: a 4-3-3 formation with Messi on the right, Aguero in the centre and Depay on the left. Other sources, in turn, say that Barca is keen on keeping the Frenchman at the club – unless, of course, an “irresistible” offer comes from an interested party.