Barça loses Messi - what does the future hold?

Football superstar Lionel Messi is leaving FC Barcelona after 21 years. The 34-year-old's negotiations with the club broke down at the last minute on Thursday, apparently due largely to the Financial Fair Play rules in force in the Spanish league which impose limits on the total amount clubs can pay their players.

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El Mundo (ES) /

The beginning of the end

For El Mundo, Messi's departure is a symptom of the slow decline of the Spanish league which even the entry of British financial investor CVC cannot prevent:

“Madrid and Barça complain that they were not consulted about an operation they oppose. They believe that in the medium or long term both clubs will lose money. ... Everyone is aware of how the competitiveness of the league has dwindled in recent years, as well as of the financial problems that are besetting our football. ... A depreciation that is exacerbated by the departure of Messi, who is unlikely to return to another Spanish club.”

Przegląd Sportowy (PL) /

A nightmare come true

This is a heavy blow for FC Barcelona, comments Poland's biggest sports newspaper Przegląd Sportowy:

“The Barcelona fans' nightmare has come true. The best player in the club's history is leaving Camp Nou and will continue his career in another league. ... This is not how Messi himself envisioned his departure from Barcelona. In the past he repeatedly stressed that he wanted to end his career at this club. But since he sees no possibility of continuing his career at Camp Nou, the Argentine is forced to move to another club. And the clubs have been queuing up for him for a year now. This is the kind of player that the presidents, fans and managers of all the clubs in the world want in their team.”