Messi's wages too much for Barcelona

Barcelona was forced to let star player Lionel Messi leave the club because his high wages coupled with strict La Liga financial rules could have jeopardised its future, President Joan Laporta said.

Both the club, which has suffered steep losses recently, and 34-year-old Messi had wanted to sign a new contract. But the Argentine's deal would have taken salaries to 110 percent of the club's earnings, a financially risky move given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Laporta said.

"The club is above everything - even above the best player in the world,

"We reached agreement but couldn't formalise it, because of the club's economic situation, which means we can't register the player due to salary limits," he said.

Without Messi's wages, salaries would account for 95 percent of Barcelona's income, while ideally, they should not exceed 70 percent, "so there's still a lot of work to be done", Laporta said.

Messi had wanted to sign a new contract at Barcelona on reduced terms, reportedly 50 percent below his latest pay, but the club was unable to come up with an arrangement that also complied with the financial rules of Spain's La Liga competition.