Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed that Lionel Messi could not have stayed even with salary reductions by the club’s captains and Antoine Griezmann’s departure this summer. The Argentine left the Camp Nou, after spending more than two decades at the club, with a move to PSG.
After his transfer saga in the summer of 2020, few expected Lionel Messi to actually leave Barcelona especially after reports indicated that he had come to an agreement over a contract extension. But things didn’t quite work out the way the La Liga giants expected with the club pushed into the corner by La Liga’s salary rules. It eventually saw Messi leave once his previous contract with the club expired, and he signed for PSG less than a week later.
It broke the hearts of many fans when the forward made his debut for the Parisians but especially when Antoine Griezmann left the club in a serious cost-cutting exercise. However, in an interview, Joan Laporta has revealed that even with Griezmann leaving and the captains taking a salary reduction, there was no chance of re-signing Messi. The Barcelona president further added that the cost-cutting exercise was to make sure that the club can be financially stable to reinforce their team next summer.
"What happened is what has been explained. There is objective data. Everyone can compare it. We were pressured that we would either sign the CVC loan [deal] or there is no fair play. There was no margin. There was a pre-agreement [with Messi] and we had shaken hands,” Laporta said, reported Goal.
“There were several agreements and La Liga seemed to accept it, but then they said no without CVC. We didn't think that the situation was going to improve and we put an end to it. Messi could not have stayed even with Griezmann's [departure] and with the salary reduction of the captains.
“But it is important that we have lowered the salary cap because next year we can be more ambitious. I think we were both sad because the situation was not what we wanted. I have not spoken with Messi since. I saw his debut with PSG and it was strange to see him at another team, rivals. I did not like seeing him in another shirt," he added.