Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Messi ´hurt´ that Laporta hoped he´d play for free at Barcelona

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Nov 2021

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Lionel Messi felt “hurt” when it emerged Barcelona president Joan Laporta had hoped the six-time Ballon d’Or winner would play for free in order to stay at Camp Nou.

Messi left Barcelona in August after spending his entire professional career to that point with the club, his contract having expired at the end of June.

Barca expected Messi to be re-signed after they agreed a new contract with him, but LaLiga ultimately blocked them from doing so as the league refused to let the Blaugrana circumvent salary cap rules.

Due to suffering €480million in losses over the previous financial year, during which their debts increased to €1.4billion, Barca saw their salary cap reduced by €280m for 2021-22.

That left them with a spending limit of €97m, less than a seventh of Real Madrid’s cap (€739m), and a smaller budget than five other clubs.

As such, Barca had to reduce wage spending significantly, but even Messi’s agreed contract being worth only 50 per cent of his previous deal was not going to be enough and the club eventually accepted retaining him was an impossibility, allowing Paris Saint-Germain to make their move.

Laporta said last month that, while he bears no anger towards Messi, he hoped there would be a last-minute change “and Messi would say that he would play for free”, comments that seemingly did not sit well with the Argentinian.

“The truth is that, as I explained on my way out, I did everything possible to stay,” Messi told Sport. “Never at any time was I asked to play for free.

“I was asked to cut my salary by 50 per cent and I did it without any problem. We were in a position to help the club more. The desire and desire of me and my family was to stay in Barcelona.

“Nobody asked me to play for free, but at the same time it seems to me that the words said by the president are out of place.

“They hurt me because I think he doesn’t need to say it, it’s like getting the ball off you and not assuming its consequences, or taking charge of things.

“This makes people think or generates a type of doubt that I think I don’t deserve.”

Messi signed a two-year contact with Paris Saint-Germain, at the end of which he will be 36 years old.

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