Leo Messi set to leave Barcelona: news summary 1 September

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Messi Barcelona exit: latest news - 2 September

Inter Milan not chasing Messi

Piero Ausilio, sporting director at Inter, said the club weren't interested in Messi, citing Financial Fair Play and saying there have never been any talks with Barça. He also said Lautaro is not for sale. 

Messi has agreed deal with City

According to the Daily Record anyway, who are reporting he definitely has agreed a €700 million euro deal with the City Football Group, which would involve three years at Manchester City and two with MLS sister club New York City. This rumour has been doing the rounds over the past couple of days, and seems to make some sense, although the huge sums talked about include the income tax on Messi's salary, meaning he would be earning about the same at Man City as he is at Barcelona - 100 million euros gross, and just over 50 million net. (The top rate of tax in the UK is 45%, while in Catalonia it's 49%). The big chunk of that 700 million euros is a signing fee for New York City of some €250 million euros - will be fascinating to see how they've structured that. 

Anyway, more will become clear after Messi's dad, Jorge, meets Bartomeu later today. (It's not clear if Jorge will have anyone with him at the meeting, it appears not - he has said previously about his job being an advisor to his son: "Who has the training for this? Maybe nobody. I try to look at how other footballers manage all this. It's not that hard.")

The Ligue 1 side have a spare €20m a season after the departures of Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva while Juventus want the Uruguayan to replace Higuaín.

Full story: 

Second thoughts? 

According to Spanish radio show El Larguero, Messi isn't so sure where he stands regarding his ability to leave Barcelona after all the legal wrangling and reportedly hasn't ruled out staying at Camp Nou. Which would be a bit awkward for Bartomeu to say the least. 

De Jong: "It'a a mess at Barcelona"

Frenkie De Jong certainly has certainly witnessed a strange year in his first at Barcelona, something which the player has reportedly acknowledged in an interview on Dutch TV when discussing the current situation at a Camp Nou still reeling from the Messi fallout. 

“Currently it’s a mess at Barcelona, so many strange things happening," De Jong reportedly told Nos (via journalist Tancredi Palmeri).

Jorge Messi on route to Barcelona 

Mundo Deportivo reports that Messi's father, Jorge, is currently on route to Barcelona, where he will hold a meeting with club president Josep Bartomeu tomorrow.

The father of the Barcelona superstar boarded a plane at 17:00 Spanish time, according to MD

Man City defender Eric Garcia - Everyone would like to have Messi in their team

Eric Garcia feels it is natural Manchester City would want to sign Lionel Messi after the Barcelona superstar handed in a transfer request.

Speaking at a news conference to preview Thursday's Nations League showdown with Germany, following his first senior call-up by Spain, ex-Barca youth product Garcia tried his best not to be drawn on the matter.

"At City we have not talked about Messi coming , but everyone would like to have Messi in their team," he said.

"On the Messi issue, it's something between clubs that I can't get into.

"I am going to avoid the question if he would be a good signing for City because he is a Barca player and not I'm going to comment on it. " (Perform)

Sadio Mane to Barcelona?

UK reports have identified Sadio Mane as a possible replacement for Lionel Messi. The Argentine will leave impossibly big boots to fill, but the Liverpool forward could go some way futher than most players who may be available. 

ICYMI: Guardiola advised Messi to stay at Barcelona

According to 'Mundo Deportivo' the Manchester City manager would only be willing to sign Messi on a free transfer as to comply with Financial Fair Play rules. Read more...

Wondering what a Messi, De Bruyne and Aguero attacking trio could look like next season? This video may not be far off...

Messi "agrees €700m deal with City Football Group"

Goal citing reports from British tabloid, the Daily Record, that Messi has agreed a €700m  deal with City Football Group.

The five-year deal would see him play three years at Man City and then the final two years at New York City, both of which are owned by the  Abu Dhabi-based group. Speculation will remain rife until something is confirmed about Messi's future. 

Messi "unlikely" to change his mind, says Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font

The man who could soon take over for Barca president Josep Bartomeu believes Messi is unlikely to change his mind and the club should now make “the transition as smooth as possible.” Read more...

Inter sporting director quashes Messi speculation

Inter Milan sporting director Piero Ausilio has dispelled rumours that the Serie A club is one of the frontrunners to sign Messi, calling such speculation "crazy".

“We’re not going to sign Leo Messi. I don’t even know where are coming from these crazy rumours," he told Sky Sports Italia. (via Italian journalist, Fabrizio Romano).

Any hopes Barcelona fans have held about signing Inter's star striker, Lautaro Martinez, have also been dashed by Ausilio, who reportedly told Sky:

"We never started official talks with Barcelona for Lautaro Martinez. The day after the release clause expired we considered him out of the market. It’s over"

Greenwood: Playing against Messi would be a dream come true

Manchester United starlet, Mason Greenwood, has said that playing against Lionel Messi would be a dream come true, even if that means facing him in the colors of city rivals Man City.

"Obviously it'd be amazing to come up against him. All young footballers know about Messi," the 18-year-old told a video news conference from England's St George's Park base (via Perform).

"To be on the same pitch playing against him would be another dream come true - not just for me, for everyone.

"Having someone that high profile coming to the Premier League would be a big thing."

"Deafening silence" from Barcelona squad

This Sky Sports News report points out that -- aside from Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal (both of whom, like Messi, have their imediate futures up in the air) -- the Barcelona squad have remained completely silent on the Messi situation, including those in his inner circle like Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique. 


Jorge Messi is in Barcelona

According to Mundo Deportivo, Leo Messi's father has travelled to Barcelona from Rosario, landing at 17:00 CEST, to meet with Barcelona president Bartomeu tomorrow to discuss the player's future. 

Jorge Messi's plan is to reach a deal to allow the player to leave, without needing to turn to the courts, although his initial position will be that Messi be allowed to leave for free. Bartomeu is said to be still hopeful of convincing Messi to sign a new deal.

Rakitic returns to Sevilla

Ivan Rakitic has rejoined Europa League champions Sevilla on a four-year contract from Barcelona for an undisclosed fee. Rakitic returns to his former club after a trophy-laden six-year spell at Camp Nou during which the team won four league titles, four Copa del Rey trophies, the Champions League and Club World Cup.

"Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona have reached an agreement for the transfer of midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who will return to the club for a second spell after his first spell at the club between January 2011 and June 2014," Sevilla said in a statement.

If Messi and Suárez both leave, Barça would instantly lose the two players who supply and create around 70% of the team's goals...

Messi and Luis Suárez created 74 of the 110 goals which Barcelona scored in 2019-20. Since they started playing together, Messi has scored 280 goals, while Suárez has scored 198.




Manchester City could only afford Messi on a free transfer

Pep Guardiola is now back in England after a short trip to Barcelona where he has been keeping himself informed on Leo Messi's situation at Camp Nou. While City were one of the favourites to land Messi, if he ends up leaving Barcelona, now it seems unlikely. Sources close to City officials claim that the only way the Premier League club could afford Messi is if he joins on a free transfer. City will give up on the idea of signing Messi if they have to pay any kind of transfer fee, Mundo Deportivo reports.

City know that their transfer dealings are being closely watched by UEFA - the club was fined 10 million euros in July for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations and only just escaped without having to serve a two-year ban in the Champions League. The club has already spent money on bringing in Nathan Aké and Ferrán Torres - adding Messi, valued at 700 million euros, would make balancing the books nigh on impossible.

Guardiola's advice to Messi - see out your contract at Barcelona

According to 'Mundo Deportivo' the Manchester City manager would only be willing to sign Messi on a free transfer to keep in line with Financial Fair Play rules.

Read more: 

Barcelona players remain silent on Messi situation

Apart from Luis Suárez and Arturo Vidal, close friends of the Argentinean and neither of whom are in Koeman's plans, no Barcelona player has spoken about Messi or voiced their concern that he might leave.

Read more:


Stuttgart fan starts crowdfunding scheme to raise cash to buy Messi

Tim Artmann would love to see Leo Messi in white and red, creating magic for his lifelong club Stuttgart. He has set up a crowdfunding project with which he ambitiously hopes to raise enough cash to pay Messi's 700 million euro buy-out and have a couple of hundred million spare to meet the player's wage demands.

Artmann still has a way to go to meet his target - so far he has raised just 500 euros but he is realistic about the chances of Messi ending up at Stuttgart. "Messi is one of the best players in the world and to be honest, I don't think there is any chance he will come to our club. Even if we did reach our target. If Messi chooses to go to another club, we will donate all of the money we have raised to charity," he said.


Koeman's technical team

Ronaldo Koeman was accompanied by his coaching staff in the first training session of the new season on Monday evening. Forming part of the Dutch coach's staff are: 

Alfred Schreuder - Assistant coach
Henrik Larsson - Third coach
Albert Roca - Third coach
Daniel Romero - Fitness trainer
Jaume Bartra - Fitness trainer
Jose Ramon De La Fuente - Goalkeeping coach


Messi and Barca's internationals absent in Koeman's first session

Leo Messi wasn't the only the player to miss Ronald Koeman's first training session in charge at Barcelona. At least the others had an excuse - Ivan Rakitic was given permission to miss the session while he ties up his move back to his former club Sevilla.

Several other players are out on international duty - Busquets, Ansu Fati, Lenglet, Griezmann, Trincão, Semedo, De Jong, Braithwaite and Aleñá.

The first team squad are due back at the Ciutat Esportiva at 09:30 hours for today's session - the players will rest on Thursday and Sunday.



Messi facing fine for skipping training

Failing to show up for training is considered a serious offence at any club and Barcelona is not an exception. Leo Messi faces some kind of disciplinary action from the club for missing Monday's return to work without permission nor even giving a valid excuse. Messi faces a fine of between 4-7% of his monthly salary and could also have his wages docked for two to 10 days.

If the situation persists and Messi continues to shun his duties, the punishment will increase. Failing to show up on a matchday could result in a fine of 25% of a player's wage packet. We will have to wait and see how Messi's situation develops and whether it is resolved or not by the time Barcelona play their opening game of the new season, against Villarreal on the weekend of the 27th (the Week 1 fixture against Elche and Week 2 meeting with Athletic Club have been postponed).


Vidal agrees to join Inter Milan

It looks like Arturo Vidal could be joining Arthur Melo in Serie A this season.La Gazzetta dello Sport report that the Chilean midfielder has accepted an offer of a two-year deal with Inter Milan and will earn six million euros, after tax, per season.

Now all the remains for the deal to go through is for Barcelona to agree to the terms of the deal. Vidal's buy-out is 20 million euros and while Barca would be willing to negotiate a lower fee, they certainly would not let the player leave on a free transfer.


Messi failed to appear in Monday's training session

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 and RT-PCR coronavirus test on Sunday. Reuters television footage showed players arriving for the session which began at 17:30 local time and Messi did not appear.

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 tells Barcelona he wants to leave

Exactly one week ago, it emerged 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 he has served for practically his entire career.

Since then, Messi doesn't seem to have had a change of heart... and his possible departure, contractual negotiations with Barça and potential next club have filled the news columns.