Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta blamed LaLiga’s financial fair play rules for the club’s inability to sign Lionel Messi to a new deal.

“The results from the audit of our finances are much worse than we had expected, based on the official numbers. That means losses are much higher than expected, and debt is much bigger too, which means that with the current contracts we have no margin.

“The agreement with Leo Messi had certain risks, and we were willing to take them on, but when we saw the situation of the club through this audit, we just had no margin after the calamitous previous board.

“I don’t want to generate false hopes. It is true that the player also has other offers, we heard that during the negotiations. There is also a deadline for us, LaLiga is starting soon. The FFP is also clear and the player cannot stay in this (limbo) situation.

“The negotiation (with Messi) is over,” he added. “LaLiga are not flexible with their salary limit, they would only do so if we mortgaged the broadcast rights of this club for half a century.”

The suggestion Messi could lower his demands was put to the president, who replied: “Those are all hypothetical situations. They’re not real as of today.

“If I’m here today, it’s not because of what may or may not happen. I wanted to be here with Leo today. It was the dream of every Cule, but we have to live in the real world.

“I like to dream but we have to live in the reality that this is what happens. I can imagine a lot of things, there are a lot of things I would like to happen, but right now that is not easy.”

Messi, 34, has been a free agent since July 1 when his contract with the club expired. The Argentine forward is now expected to join PSG.