Barcelona President Joan Laporta revealed that he had hoped that Lionel Messi would play for free before he joined Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. Messi ended a 21-year stay at the club after Barcelona could not offer the superstar a new contract as they were unable to meet the salary cap imposed by La Liga. The forward left the Nou Camp in tears before joining the French club on a two-year deal.
“There came a time when both parties saw that it would not be possible. There was a disappointment on both sides,” Barcelona President Joan Laporta said. “He wanted to stay but they also had a lot of pressure because of the offer they had. I hoped Messi would do a U-turn and he would say he would play for free.”
“I would have liked that and I would have been all for it. It is my understanding La Liga would have accepted it. But we cannot ask a player of Messi’s stature to do this.” he added. “We do not need more debt. I understand La Liga clubs are suffering. We have not ruled ourselves out of this operation but they have to change it. They are trying to reformulate the deal.”
“(The new Camp Nou) is fundamental for the viability of the club and its immediate future,” Laporta added. “The impact it will have for Barca is critical so that we can compete with our competitors who have already done what is needed.”