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L. Messi

Laporta insists Messi exit was 'best' for Barcelona: I had to put the club ahead of the best player in history

2:25 PM WAT 05/01/2023
Lionel Messi farewell press conference
Joan Laporta has insisted that Lionel Messi's exit was best for Barcelona as the club was on verge of "financial ruin".
  • Messi left Barcelona in 2021
  • Barca couldn't afford his high wages
  • Messi's departure deemed 'best' for club

WHAT HAPPENED? The Liga heavyweights tried desperately to keep Messi on their books as his previous contract expired, but financial difficulties at Camp Nou made an extension impossible. The World Cup winner bid an emotional farewell to his boyhood club before leaving to join Paris Saint-Germain in France. Laporta insists that he acted in the best interests of the club at that time, otherwise Barcelona would have been in "financial ruin".

WHAT THEY SAID: "I had to put Barca ahead of the best player in the history of football. In those moments of financial ruin I could not retain him. I think it was the best for the club. Right now he is a PSG player and I prefer not to talk about him.

"We are focused on Barca. Leo will always be part of our shield and I would like him to have a different ending than he did. There are several options, but it would be wrong if I said them. We have a relationship," the Barcelona president told reporters.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Laporta has previously expressed his desire to bring back Messi to Camp Nou - although he admitted it's unlikely as financial constraints continue to plague the club. Barca have already activated a few financial levers to make several additions to the squad last summer, including star attackers Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha. Indeed, at this stage it seems highly unlikely that a move for Messi will happen any time soon.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR BARCELONA & MESSI? The Catalan club will be in action on Sunday in a crucial encounter against Atletico Madrid, while Messi is expected to feature against Angers on January 12 after Christophe Galtier revealed that he will miss the French Cup fixture against Chateauroux.