Leo Messi set to leave Barcelona: news summary for 31 August

Coronavirus live USA: latest Covid-19 news - 31 August

LA Galaxy coach excited

Like many, surprised by the news... but if it means having Messi in the MLS at some point, Barros Schelotto is entirely happy.

Simeone

Biggest pay packet in LaLiga

Messi is currently the biggest earner by far in LaLiga (well, ignoring the fact Barcelona may be docking his €110,000 a day salary at the moment as he's refused his Covid-19 test and is not turning up at training). But if Barcelona's star man does leave it will make a coach the highest paid individual in LaLiga - Atlético's Diego Simeone, who pockets 24 million euros after tax (Messi is on just shy of €50 million). 

Farre

Move to bring vote of no confidence in Bartomeu 

Jordi Farré, pre-candidate for the Barça presidential elections, is going ahead with his move for a vote of no confidence in current president Bartomeu. Farré has the backing of the other two pre-candidates Víctor Font and Lluís Fernández Alá.

They need 16,520 signatures from club members - 15% of the total - to go ahead with the motion. If the motion goes ahead, they will need two thirds of the members to vote in favour to get rid of Bartomeu and the board.

They have asked for digital signatures to be counted, Barcelona have rejected that, meaning the members signing for a vote of no confidence will have to physically provide their signature on the papers. There will be 50 signing locations set up by volunteers backing the vote of no confidence.

Fan sets up GoFundme for Messi Manchester City move

A worthy cause? Not so sure, but the Twitter user, known as POGBADYBALAMORATA, has yet to raise a single penny of the $700,000,000 he wants to raise to secure Messy's move to City.

Though, if Messi and his lawyers get their way, City won't need a penny to sign him...

PSG's wink at Messi

A shameless bat of the eyelids in the direction of Lionel Messi from PSG, who used their official twitter account to say "Hola Leo". 

They're one of the frontrunners to sign the wantaway Barcelona captain, with the club's sporting director, Leonardo, reportedly having contacted the Argentine's camp twice last week. 

Messi meme of the day

Someone was bound to make this at some point. Matthew McConaughey's Instellar character, Cooper, cries his eyes out watching old clips of Messi. 

Rakitic beats Messi to the Barcelona exit door

While Messi's future remains up in the air, another Barcelona stalwart is already on his way out, with Sevilla set to confirm the signing of Ivan Rakitic shortly. 

Man City preparing £450m offer for Messi

BBC reporting (citing Sport) that Man City are preparing to offer Messi to pay Messi £450m over five years.

d

In pictures: A kid sporting Lionel Messi's jersey sits on the pavement outside the Barcelona's Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi waiting for the arrival of Barcelona players to undergo a medical test for COVID-19, on August 30, 2020. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

Although Lionel Messi has not come out publicly about the situation he has created between him and FC Barcelona, some members of his family have. Read the thoughts of his cousin, Maximiliano Biancucchi Cuccittini...

Messi fails to show up for Barca training

Well, as was expected (report from Reuters):

Unhappy Lionel Messi missed Barcelona's first training session of the new season on Monday, days after his shock announcement that he wants to leave the only club he has played for professionally.

Messi's failure to show up for the session, the first under new Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman, was widely expected after the 33-year-old Argentine also failed to show up for a pre-season medical on Sunday.

Reuters television footage showed players arriving for the session which began at 17:30 local time and Messi did not appear. The six-times world player of the year insists he has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave on a free transfer -- a claim disputed by Barcelona and La Liga.

Messi's lawyers plan to invoke a clause in his four-year contract, signed in 2017, which would have allowed the forward to leave the club for free if he had requested it by June 10. They will argue that date -- nominally the end of the season -- is now irrelevant after the coronavirus pandemic forced an extension of the La Liga season deep into August.

However, La Liga said on Sunday that the only way a club can sign the Argentine forward is if he triggers a release clause of 700 million euros ($836 million). Messi's decision came after Barcelona failed to win any silverware last season, which finished with a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals. Supporters who waited outside the training ground on Monday were split over Messi's decision.

"I really want Messi to stay," Brazilian Fabio Alfredo Suarez told Reuters. 'Messi lives in my heart -- it's a pity that he leaves, I wanted him to leave through the front door of the club.” Spaniard Ivan Antolin Beltran remembered that Barca had helped Messi through the earlier stages of his career. "After all that Barca has given to Messi throughout his career, which started here as a child... they paid him for all his medicines and everything ... I think his way of behaving is a bit incorrect," he said. 

"Messi is your friend you might give him a call and see if he wants to join us".

Braithwaite denies he asked Barca for '10' shirt

Martin Braithwaite refuted claims he has already asked for the Barcelona number 10 shirt worn by Lionel Messi.

"What do people think themselves? Of course I did not go to the club and ask for Messi's number," he told Danish newspaper BT. "It would be so disrespectful.

"I really feel that the people who come up with these kinds of stories lack respect for a lot of people.

"A lot of things are being written about Messi and I do not know what is happening. I can only say that he is a great player and person to be team-mates with.

"It goes without saying what he can do as a football player when he shows it every weekend. He is one of the best players ever and, of course, it will be a loss for the club if he disappears.

 

Clásico fixtures releases for 2020/2021

The Clásico fixtures for the upcoming season have been set:

October 25: Barcelona vs Real Madrid

April 11: Real Madrid vs Barcelona

Could they be the first Clásico fixtures of the post-Messi era? Man City fans will be hoping so, Barcelona fans not so much.

Keep going Stuttgart! 

A crowd-funding effort by fans of the Bundesliga club has not quite reached its target....

This is rather fun... a more or less 10 minute resume of Messi's Barcelona career. If you want to cut to the chase, it's at 47 seconds and includes by far the most mentions of "Messi" in a bit of commentary ever committed to the airwaves. Only Argentinean commentary can really do it justice. 

Cristiano Ronaldo is a case in point on that subject. When the Real Madrid star left for Juevntus, the Serie A side got their abacus out and calculated it wouldn't take that long to recoup their investment, with the club forecasting a 30 percent jump in operating profits in Ronaldo's first season in Turin.

Ooooohh, Zlatan. He's really not a fan of Barcelona or Pep Guardiola, but has the Swede hit the nail on the head here? It would hardly be a surprise given the tendency of the modern day football fan to follow a player rather than a team if whoever does end up getting hold of Messi this summer enjoys a whacking great pay day as a result. 

Braithwaite and the #10

So, that earlier story about Martin Braithwaite requesting Messi's shirt appears to be a bit of a fib.

At least according the man himself.

Koeman

Pondering AM (After Messi)

It is still possible that Lionel Messi will wear the Barça number 10 shirt in the coming season, but it is looking very unlikely given everything we know.

So, with that in mind we considered what a first XI could look like for the blaugrana, and this is without new signings - potentially on the back of a decent financial settlement for their star.

Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, De Jong, Coutinho, Dembélé, Griezmann

If Koeman can get the best out of them, that's not a bad side, eh?

Remember when CR7 left Madrid?

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez talked after the dust had settled on Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Los Blancos.

Can a Messi exit keep as warm a relationship between him and Bartomeu? It doesn't look likely

'Fancy a chat?'

Palmeri feels City movement

Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri has shared his latest feeling over what the outcome will be based on the information currently available.

It follows fairly closely what most bookmakers are saying, but it's worth City fans noting that 55% is not far off tossing-a-coin odds.

LaLiga 2020/21 fixtures

Remember that we are only a few hours away from finding out who plays who and when in the new season.

Here's all the information you need on where and when to follow the unveiling live.

Across in Madrid...

It's all relatively calm in the capital as Zidane prepares his squad to retain their LaLiga title and watch the Messi saga roll on.

€55,000 down

As far as we're led to believe, Barça are going to fine Messi €110,000 per day he is absent from training (his pro-rata wage). At midday on Monday, the Argentinean is down 55 grand.

Once again, lawyers will have a say in this...

Remembering BM (Before Messi)

On Monday morning, as Barça players return for the first day of pre-season training, the social media team have picked this Sylvinho goal as their net-bulging highlight.

Notice the number 10 shirt at the bottom of your screen in that game was a certain Ronaldinho.

City rivals strengthen

To be honest, even if Messi joining Pep Guardiola wasn't a serious possibility, the other teams in the Premier League striving to catch City would want to add quality to their ranks.

And it appears they are doing so...

Braithwaite requests '10'

A reminder that there were reports in Spain yesterday that Martin Braithwaite had requested to take on the weighty number 10 shirt if Messi was indeed to leave.

If true, at least it shows that the 29-year old Dane is brimming with self-confidence.

Fan view

Although there are some that can see positives behind Messi leaving the club, giving Koeman a chance to change the axis of a rebuild, there is generally a great dissatisfaction from supporters in the current board.

This summary and GIF maybe a common reaction...

Fans

'Tsunami Blaugrana', one of the fan groups protesting against club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and hoping that Leo Messi will stay. (Photo: EFE/ Marta Perez)

Will Man City have a new fan?

Normally it is the football club that is supported rather than an individual player, but there is a common feeling that many so-called Barça fans will switch loyalties if their main man departs.

One famous Messi lover has announced that she'll follow him wherever he goes.

Cousin points to Manchester

"Of all the teams that have been suggested, I feel that Manchester City would be a good fit."

'Messi's Plan B'

One of our favourite sports illustrators, Marselle, has put his creativity to the test by considering alternatives for the wantaway star.

Some golf lessons from Gareth Bale could mean a nice relaxing year before a potential free transfer in 2021.

Mundo

'LaLiga get behind Barça'

Mundo Deportivo point to the statement by the league authorities that you can read more about by scrolling down.

Sport

'More mess'

Sport point to a potential €750-million mega offer from Man City which covers five years of Messi's immediate future, the latter part in the MLS.

Monday's front pages

Let's have a look at what some of the Spanish newspapers are saying...

Wednesday showdown

Messi's father and representative, Jorge, is said to have a meeting scheduled for Wednesday with Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu.

The objectives of each camp contrast just a tad:

Player - leave for a new club now

Club - renew contract and forget the last week even happened

Can a compromise be found? If not, this could get really...dirty!

Full story

Legal conflicts

A reminder of the news that we reported on Saturday that FC Barcelona have ended their relationship with their law firm.

You couldn't make this stuff up...

Release clause reality

Toni Roca, a football lawyer, reminds us too that even if the agreement between club and player frees him from the €700-million release clause, it doesn't mean he is free.

Salah, Agüero, Pogba... none of them have release clauses. Clubs have to negotiate an agreeable fee.

Once again, we have to jump back to the caveat of whether or not Messi's contract is actually over. Step forward those well paid lawyers...

Contracting Messi

That piece of paper with some signatures on it has everyone talking and interpreting.

According to Onda Cero Radio last night, the wording included: "10 days after the last game of the season" as the termination date.

If this is the case, then one would deduct that Messi would be acting within the stipulated time frame.

Spanish league backs Barça

A reminder that on Sunday we saw LaLiga jump into the debate, with studs showing!

Their statement said that as far as they were concerned Messi is under contract with Barcelona AND he has a €700 million buy-out clause.

Messi testing no-show

Not turning up for his test means that the Argentine star cannot join the training sessions with his Barcelona teammates, under LaLiga's coronavirus protocols.

Oh, and there could well be some sanctions on the player.

Front

"Barça are back, things get messier"

Our front page for Monday 31 August maintains its focus on a certain Lionel Messi.

He does not appear in the image as players return for pre-season testing, as he didn't turn up. A young fan hadn't given up hope though...yet!

Messi tells Barcelona he wants to leave

Last Tuesday, almost a week ago, the news broke that Lionel Messi had told his club FC Barcelona that he wanted to leave. It appeared then that the player's mind was already made up and that he would not play again for the club that he has served for so long.

That position does not look as though it has changed since...but there has been plenty of news surrounding it.

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