A day that Barcelona fans have long dreaded has come, as Lionel Messi is no longer a Blaugrana player. A whole 7,504 days after his first contract with the club was signed, on a napkin no less, the forward’s contractual link to the club has ended.
For the first time since 2000 Messi doesn’t have a contract at Barcelona.
His current deal lapsed at midnight in Spain, and no extension has yet been announced
With his most recent deal running until June 30, Messi has become a free agent at midnight, as June turned into July.
Joan Laporta has been working hard to convince Messi to renew and the new club president wanted to sign a contract with the Argentine before the most recent one expired, but it wasn’t to be.
This doesn’t mean Messi is leaving the club, as those in charge at the Camp Nou believe he will put pen to paper on a new deal and continue to wear the blue and red colours. At this moment in time, though, Messi is not a Barcelona player.
The club’s financial problems prevented a new deal from being signed before the June 30 expiry date. The relationship between Laporta and Messi’s father is very good, but there are several aspects of the new contract that still need to be ironed out. An agreement could be reached soon, perhaps in a few days, but it hasn’t been established as of yet.
Laporta, who has urged fans to remain calm, wants Messi to sign a new deal as soon as possible. He doesn’t like that the forward isn’t a Barcelona player, even if it’s just for a few days, while sponsors don’t like this either, both existing ones and potential new partners.
Nike, for example, are looking to promote the new shirt and they can’t advertise it with Messi, at least at this moment in time. That’s just one example, but other sponsors don’t want to sign up to new deals while Messi isn’t guaranteed to be a part of the Catalan club’s future.
The Messi transfer rumours
Barcelona would also like to announce Messi’s renewal to put an end to the speculation and rumours.
There doesn’t appear to be another club ready to try to convince Messi to sign for them right now, something other teams have been legally allowed to try to do since January. But, stranger things have happened in football.
Barcelona don’t like that Messi is a free agent at this moment in time. For now, though, that’s the reality.