Friday, October 22

Two legends and two clubs in suspense | sports

Ramos and Messi, in the last classic of 2019 at the Bernabéu.
Ramos and Messi, in the last classic of 2019 at the Bernabéu.Alvaro Garcia

The end of the most anemic winter market in years, the second window under the influence of the coronavirus, marks another milestone in a calendar where an unusual uncertainty about the two greats of Spanish football lingers. Barcelona and Real Madrid still have the future of their captains, Leo Messi (33 years old) and Sergio Ramos (34), whose contracts expire in less than five months. It is the most striking feature of the moments of marked weakness that they go through.

Both are 10 points behind the leader, Atlético, who have also played one game less; Both are shaken by the delicate financial environment, although with different intensities; at the same time they face the pressing need to complete pending transitions: and both close the winter market weaker than they started.

Barça showed that it is unable to face the hiring of a young center-back worth five million euros requested by the coach. But the main issue is Messi’s future, which will not be resolved until the club has a new president on March 7. The player will not rush after the burofax sent in August, when he asked to leave the club, despite the fact that the publication of his contract strains the relationship of both parties –The world announced this Monday that Barça will pay the Argentine 39 million in July for the loyalty clause even if he leaves. The interlocutor will influence the decision of 10 and will hardly have links with the directive of Josep Maria Bartomeu, with whom the player is facing.

The candidate and former president Joan Laporta, who maintains a good relationship with Messi, stated in RAC1: “Leo generates much more than he charges: a third of Barça’s total income. I will do everything possible to make him stay because I have indications that he is well in Barcelona and that he wants to stay. You need to trust a sports project to continue winning Champions ”. “Messi is not guided by money,” added Laporta, willing to “investigate who has leaked Leo’s contract document if he has left the club.”

The candidate Víctor Font also defended the money that Messi receives, “because it generates that and more.” “The problem we have is the wage bill, but it is not because of Messi but because of the salaries of all the players,” he continued. “Leo is a relevant asset, but if he’s not there, the world won’t end.” And the third candidate, Toni Freixa, specified: “Messi could have left and decided to stay; it was a good idea. He has a contract and compliance must be protected ”. The three candidates agree, in any case, that the terms of a renewal would not take into account the agreement signed in 2017 and that expires on June 30. “You have to present an imaginative contract,” says Laporta.

The arrival of Pochettino to PSG has raised the expectations of the French team to join Messi with Neymar, at the request of the Brazilian himself, while Mbappé does not renew the contract that ends in 2022. The Rosario also knows that a viable option is that of Manchester City by Guardiola. Both clubs are equally pending of the elections of the Barça. There is a month of truce at the Camp Nou due to the lack of a board that can make decisions and influence even the winter market: Eric García and Memphis Depay have not been incorporated and the departure of Todibo and Matheus has been negotiated .

The mismanagement of the club, denounced by Laporta and Font, allows, in any case, the appearance of news that alter the electoral campaign and may even affect the result. Messi, for the moment, is silent and remains on hold because he has no one to talk to until March 7, at which time the exact debt of the club will be known from the audits – the liability is close to 1,200 million – and how much can Barça offer economically and sportingly.

Wage pulse

Madrid, not in favor of hiring in winter, this time it has even moved in the opposite direction. With the transfers of Jovic to Eintracht and Odegaard to Arsenal, it has continued to lighten the staff of a squad that, according to the latest report from the consulting firm KPMG, is the one that has lost the most value in the last year among the champions of the five major leagues European, 25%. After these outings, Mariano remains the only pure replacement for an eventual injury to Benzema, and in the middle, the team keeps only the classic hat-trick (Casemiro, Kroos, Modric), Valverde (injured) and Isco (advanced by Arribas, 18-year-old Castilla player).

Adjusting the accounts is a priority in the Valdebebas offices, where they still need to file almost 70 million euros with respect to the budget, already greatly reduced, that the partners approved in December. The mollar part is entrusted to a new 10% cut in the salary of footballers, like the one they accepted last year during confinement. But this time the negotiation is not proving so easy. The dressing room is much less predisposed to compromise and the captain, essential in April in the lubrication between Florentino Pérez and the house for that cut to wages, lives upset his own case of continuing with his near future in the air.

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