Josep Maria Bartomeu in SPORT: It was a bad decision to let Messi leave

The former Barcelona president criticised the decision to allow Messi's to go

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Toni Frieros

Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has criticised the club's failure to keep hold of Lionel Messi this past summer in an interview with Diario SPORT.

Messi first wanted to leave in 2020 but Bartomeu did not let him go, but the Argentine did leave this year when his contract expired.

"[Coach Ronald] Koeman has lost Leo Messi," Bartomeu said. "As president, I didn't want Messi to go and did everything possible so that he would not leave the club.

"I thought it was good for Barça and for him that he stayed with us. This summer, they let him go and that to me seems a bad decision. Playing without Leo Messi means there have to be a lot of changes."

On Koeman, Bartomeu, who appointed the Dutchman, said: "He came to the club at a delicate time, after a painful defeat and accepted the challenge of taking on the club in this situation.

"In his first season, he did very well. He won the Copa del Rey and I still don't know why we didn't win LaLiga, it seemed very strange to me after the great season we'd had. The Champions League was another issue...

"Koeman's prepared [for the job], but we have to have patience so that he can build a team without the presence of the best player in the world. I believe there's a lot of talent in the squad, especially young talent.

"We have to win LaLiga and the Copa del Rey [this season], I am certain of that, we have to fight for them because we have the team to do so."

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