Barcelona president Joan Laporta admitted on Friday that he had hoped Argentina star Lionel Messi would stay in Catalonia and offered the idea of playing for free with the team, before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi joined the club from the capital last August after Barcelona decided not to renew his contract due to new La Liga laws relating to salary caps.
“There came a time when it was clear to both sides that things had become impossible. There was disappointment on both sides,” Laporta said in an interview with RAK1 radio, adding: “He wanted to stay. , but they put a lot of pressure because of their offer, they understood that if he didn’t stay, he would go to Saint-Germain.
“I was hoping Messi would change his mind and say he would play for free. I would have loved it if that had happened. I think La Liga would have accepted it. But we cannot ask a player to play for free. Messi’s stature to do so. “Laporta reiterated that the club’s poor financial situation precluded the possibility of keeping Messi on the same terms.
Barcelona recorded a loss of 481 million euros ($ 556 million) last season and a total debt of 1.35 billion euros.
“We got the results of the audit (Wednesday) and investing in Leo would have put us at risk,” Laporta said, also suggesting that Barcelona could sign an agreement with investment fund CVC Capital Partners.
La Liga told Barcelona in August they could keep Messi if the club agree to a deal to sell the league 10% of its commercial rights, including those related to television broadcasting, for 50 years for $ 2.7 billion. ‘euros. However, the Catalan club, Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao have rejected this offer.
“We don’t need more debt. I understand that La Liga clubs are suffering. We have not excluded ourselves from this process but they have to change it. They are trying to rework the deal,” Laporta said.