Barcelona president Joan Laporta says La Liga’s financial fair play rules are holding up Lionel Messi’s signing a new deal with the club.
Messi, 34, became a free agent for the first time in his professional career on Thursday as his €500 million ($594m) contract with Barca expired at the stroke of midnight on July 1.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has warned the Catalan club they must make cutbacks to be able to register any new Messi deal ahead of next season.
“We want him to stay and Leo wants to stay; everything is on track,” Laporta told Onda Cero on Thursday.
“We still have the financial fair play [issue] to sort out … we’re in the process of finding the best solution for all parties.”
Barca had the biggest salary cap in Spain prior to the pandemic at €671m ($796m) per year but, as of March, that had been almost halved to €347m ($412m).
The clear-out began last summer with the departures of Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic, but Barca need to further reduce their wage bill to be able to register Messi’s new deal and their four summer signings: Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay and Emerson Royal.
So far, Barca have only been able to move on fringe players during the transfer window, with Juan Miranda, Jean-Clair Todibo, Matheus Fernandes and Konrad de la Fuente all departing. Left-back Junior Firpo is set to move to Leeds United, too.
However, the club have hit a brick wall when it has come to getting rid of big earners. There has not yet been any movement on Neto, Samuel Umtiti, Philippe Coutinho or Miralem Pjanic.