Joan Laporta: I had the last hope Messi would play for free

The Barcelona president spoke about the Argentine forward's departure this summer

| sport

Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona this summer was a big blow. Many wondered if he could stay or not with the club’s financial situation.

After Ferran Reverter’s due diligence findings, president Joan Laporta spoke to Rac1 to give his version of events regarding Messi’s departure.

“I didn’t get angry with Messi,” said Laporta. “I can’t get angry with someone who I have so much love and appreciation for. But we reached a moment when the two sides saw it could no longer be, there’s a certain disappointment from both sides. And I know that he had an enormous desire to stay but there was a lot of pressure because of Paris’s offer.

“I think that they knew that if he did not stay he would go to PSG. What I did have a hope for was the that at the last minute there would be a change of pace and he would say, I play for free. That would have convinced me and I understand La Liga would have accepted it but we cannot ask a player of Messi’s level to do that.

“Messi already had the offer from PSG. Everyone knows it was a ‘potent’ offer. To demand that with what he has now at PSG…” 

Laporta added: “I would like to be able to pay homage to Messi. He deserves it and we would love to give him a homage as he deserves, if they want it.”

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