Messi reportedly agrees to join PSG following Barcelona exit – NBC Sports

Just when you thought the contract saga between Lionel Messi and Barcelona had finally sorted itself out, here comes yet another plot twist and he is leaving the Spanish giants.

Messi is said to not be happy, at all, as he wanted to stay at the club.

[ MORE: Transfer news: Grealish to Man City deal close; Lukaku back to Chelsea ]

UPDATE: Messi has reportedly agreed to join PSG, where he will play for fellow Argentine Mauricio Pochettino and alongside longtime friends Neymar and Angel di Maria, among others, after agreeing a two-year contract (reportedly with an option for a third) with the Ligue 1 giants. An announcement is expected at an event in Paris on Tuesday.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta held a press conference after the club released a statement saying that could not sign Messi to a new contract due to La Liga rules over the size of the salary.

“We are over the salary limit that we are allowed. It is as simple as that,” Laporta confirmed.

The president said that Messi was told two days ago that the club could not continue with his new contract, which they planned to be for two years and they asked to spread the cost of that contract over five years.

Barcelona’s president said “I like to dream, but we have to live in the reality” when asked if Messi could play for Barcelona again if Financial Fair Play rules are relaxed by La Liga.

Laporta insisted that Messi and the club reached an agreement on a new contract but Spanish league rules won’t allow him to sign due to the financial situation the new club president inherited from former president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the mess they were left in.

“We have 122 years of history. We’ve been through everything and we’ve always come through. We want the post-Messi era to be very successful and I am convinced it will be,” Laporta said.

Laporta added that La Liga could be more flexible to make Messi’s new deal happen, as he repeatedly slammed their planned deal to sell 10 percent of the league to CVC Capital Partners from the USA.

“In the Spanish La Liga we have to abide by the rules. We think they can be more flexible. That is not an excuse, we knew the rules. We can’t abide by it. Leo deserves everything. He loves Barca. I’m sad but I’m convinced we’ve done best for FC Barcelona,” Laporta insisted.

“I can’t make a decision that will impact the club for the next 50 years,” Laporta added about the La Liga deal over the TV rights. “The club is over 100 years old and it is above everyone and everything. Even above the best player in the world. We will always thank him for everything he has done for us.”

Barcelona statement on situation

Barcelona confirmed 24 hours earlier in a statement that talks have broken down and Messi will leave:

Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations) .

Faced with this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the Club cannot finally be fulfilled.

Barça would like to wholeheartedly thank the player for his contribution to the growth of the institution and wish him the best in his personal and professional life.

So, why the sudden change of heart? One possibility…

[ MORE: PL outlines stricter penalty guidelines, looser laws on offside reviews ]

A report from Spanish newspaper Marca had earlier claimed that Messi “has never been further from renewing his Barcelona contract” with the issues separating the sides said to be “irreversible.”

Messi returned to Barcelona earlier this week, at which point it became clear to Messi and Barcelona president Joan Laporta that a solution could not be reached to register the 34-year-old for the upcoming season. It’s an unexpected U-turn after the sides reportedly agreed a new five-year deal (with a significant pay cut) just last month.

Barcelona, La Liga still at odds over Super League

La Liga president Javier Tebas reportedly gave Laporta a choice in recent days: keep Messi (perhaps with a bit of leeway allowed to register the player despite the club’s increasingly strained finances) by giving up on the European Super League (yes, they’re still committed to the project, along with Real Madrid and Juventus), or carry on with the Super League and lose Messi.

Barcelona’s participation in the Super League plot also stands in the way of an investment sale of 10 percent of La Liga. The deal is aimed at keeping the league and its clubs afloat financially. Real Madrid released a statement of their own, slamming La Liga’s handling of the matter, moments after Barcelona announced Messi’s departure.

The timing would seem to indicate that all of these pieces are part of the same story.

[ MORE: Aston Villa, Southampton agree Danny Ings transfer fee ]

Messi leaving Barcelona changes everything, for everyone

There’s hardly a transfer or contract offer currently in the works that won’t be touched by the ripple effects should Messi actually leave Barcelona.

For starters, everything Manchester City have done, and plan to do, is put on pause. The deal to sign Jack Grealish was already completed by the time the Messi news came down, but Harry Kane, who is yet to report to Tottenham Hotspur for preseason in hopes of forcing through a move to Manchester City? Sorry, hold please.

That means any business that Tottenham were hoping to do, with any potential funds from that sale, is currently off. Whichever clubs with whom Tottenham might have held talks about signing one of their players, that’s another club whose plans are currently in a holding pattern.

With the financial status of global football in a perilous place these days, less than a handful of clubs hold all of the power to unlock and unleash a furious final month of the transfer window, so everyone else waits. The only problem is: they (Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, in this instance) now find themselves unexpectedly waiting on one man even bigger and more powerful than they are.