'I wonder who should leave now!' - Gerard Pique slams Barcelona board as La Liga giants' ongoing financial problems threaten to scupper Lionel Messi return

Gerard Pique Barcelona 2022-23Getty
  • Pique, Alba & Busquets all left to lift wage bill
  • Club still unable to sign Messi
  • Ex-defender slammed club's finances

WHAT HAPPENED? The Catalan giants are undergoing an era-defining summer of change, having said goodbye to veterans Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets last month after their storied careers at the club. Pique parted ways with Barca back in January, leaving just Sergi Roberto as the sole remaining member of the four 'captains' appointed in August 2021. However, despite these efforts to lower the wage bill, Barca's financial problems remain, meaning Messi's proposed romantic return to Catalunya is far from complete.

WHAT THEY SAID: Pique has slammed the Barca board for the way they are handling the situation, telling the After Kings League talk show: "I'm glad I left because I gave Barca space on the wage scale. But it seems that, despite this, there are still financial problems. I wonder who should leave now. They said we are responsible for our salaries [Pique, Alba, Busquets]. Now, we've all left and yet they can't sign players."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Indeed, Messi's move back to Barca looks increasingly unlikely, even after the Argentine narrowed his options by delaying a move to Saudi Arabia. It has now emerged that MLS side Inter Miami are leading the race, as the Blaugrana's delicate financial standing - despite taking Pique, Alba and Busquets off their books - still requires them to offload players before signing anyone.

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GERARD PIQUE BARCELONAGetty ImagesJordi Alba y BusquetsGetty Imagesjoao laportaGetty Images

WHAT NEXT? While the futures of Messi, Alba and Busquets remain up in the air, Pique stepped out of the footballing world to focus on business. His Kosmos Holding company recently bought second-division side FC Andorra, as well as fantasy football game Sorare. He is also president and owner of the Kings League, a new format football league in Barcelona played by content creators.