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BREAKING: Barca Chief Speaks After Messi Exit

In a press conference this morning, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has broken his silence on Lionel Messi's shock exit from the club.

Click through the gallery above to see 10 players who have left Barcelona so far in this window.

It was announced on Thursday evening that the 34-year-old will not be able to sign a new contract with the Blaugrana, with the club releasing a statement in which they revealed it would be financially unviable. 

Laporta has now spoken for the first time since the announcement, saying: "I'm here to explain the situation we have reached in the negotiations with Lionel Messi. First of all, I'd like to say that the inheritance we have received is awful. We don't have any margin in terms of salary.

"The laws and regulations of LaLiga is ruled by Financial Fair Play. We knew that beforehand, but the numbers that they presented us after the audit were worse than they had presented initially. What we are spending is a lot more than we expected.

"We have this salary mass of great magnitude, and it allows for no margin. We couldn't fit in the contract we had with Messi due to FFP (Financial Fair Play).

"In order to register Messi, the club had to agree a contract that would affect the club for 50 years in terms of television rights.

"I can't make a decision that will affect the club for the next 50 years. The club is over 100 years old, and above everything, and everyone. Even the greatest player of all time.

"Messi wanted to stay at Barca. We wanted him to stay. It was the first step that was made, a key factor. After all of the negotiation process, there comes a moment where you need to say 'enough'. You need to analyse it, and look at the numbers. In LaLiga, we need to abide by the rules.

"Messi has proven that he loves Barca. He has his roots in Barcelona. If you allow me a personal thought: I'm sad, but I'm confident that we did the best in the interest of FC Barcelona.

"Messi tried to make it easy for us. The first offer was a two-year salary being paid in five. We thought it would be allowed in the regulations, but it was not. It is all part of a process from LaLiga.

"Leo Messi had other offers on the table but he wanted to stay, also if our proposal was inferior from a financial point of view. He was not creating any problem, trust me - he did many financial efforts to stay here, the contract was agreed."

Messi's Barca Exit: How It Happened

What is Messi's Barcelona legacy? 

The forward is widely considered the greatest player in the club's history, having amassed 977 goal contributions in 778 matches and won an incredible 34 trophies along the way. 

As a Barcelona player, Messi won a world-record six Ballons d'Or and is hotly tipped to pick up a seventh in 2021 after his heroics for Argentina at the 2021 Copa America. 

Have you seen the house Messi now might have to leave behind in Barcelona? 

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