Monday Aug 09 2021

Barca fans gather outside Messi's home, 'devastated' at his exit

Lionel Messi holds an FC Barcelona press conference - 1899 Auditorium, Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - August 8, 2021. Photo: Reuters
Lionel Messi holds an FC Barcelona press conference - 1899 Auditorium, Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - August 8, 2021. Photo: Reuters 

BARCELONA: Barcelona fans gathered outside Messi's home and expressed their disappointment over Lionel Messi exit from Barcelona after 21 years, a club he spent his entire career at. 

Messi had bid farewell to Football Club Barcelona (FCB) on Sunday and has mentioned in-talks with French club PSG for a possible move.

The announcement had disappointed Barcelona fans and even Messi was teary-eyed at the press conference. 

Barcelona fans gather outside Messi's residence 

"I feel devastated," said Cristian Garcia, wearing a Barca shirt with Messi's name and number 10 on the back outside the player's home.

"To see a player that I have always followed, who is an example for me, to see him leave now brings me a lot of pain," he added. 

"I don't think the club has done enough to make him stay, I think it was in the club's hands to make him stay, beyond the money," said Barca and Argentina fan Gonzalo Moreno.

Youngster Jonas Romero outside the house said he was "waiting to see if we can see Messi before he leaves for PSG,", adding that he wanted the player to sign his shirt and take a picture with him.

Another fan, Saul Moreno, added: "I don't want Messi to go to PSG, but I know he's going to go."

Messi's exit from Barca 

Messi had said that he had agreed to a 50% pay cut in order to stay at Barca. However, the deal was unable to be finalised due to La Liga's financial control rules and the club's debts, which total more than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion).

The Spanish League, La Liga had announced last Wednesday that it had secured a private equity injection of 2.7 billion euros from firm CVC. The funds would have been shared among the clubs in return for 10% of the league's revenue.

It was believed that the private equity injection would allow Barcelona to get Messi's deal done, however, after Real Madrid rejected the proposal and said they would take legal action against La Liga, Barca also came out against it.

Messi said on Sunday that PSG was "a possibility" but that he had not yet signed any deal.

Messi's 'possible' move to PSG

It is reported that a Barcelona fan was filing a legal complaint in Paris accusing the French football authorities of failing to enforce their own financial fair play rules in order to help PSG become a force in European football. 

A French newspaper, L'Equipe reported on Sunday that Messi would travel to Paris on Sunday or Monday for a medical and to finalise a deal with PSG.

Spanish newspaper Marca also reported that PSG had formally sent their offer to Messi on Sunday morning.

While Messi did not confirm he would definitely join the Parisians, he said his plans were to carry on playing as long as possible, adding he still harbours ambitions to win another Champions League trophy.

"We're waiting for a legend, the legend that is Leo Messi," said PSG fan Mehmet Sen, who had been waiting at the gates to Paris' Le Bourget airport since 2 a.m. for a glimpse of the star.