Barcelona president Joan Laporta insists he is ‘NOT sorry’ over letting Lionel Messi leave the club in the ‘saddest decision of all’ – as he hails Xavi for doing ‘magnificently well’ and tips him to ‘give us many joys’
- Lionel Messi bid a tearful farewell at Barcelona after their financial headache
- The superstar was unable to sign a new contract and then moved on to PSG
- Joan Laporta, however, has insisted he is ‘not sorry’ over the bombshell choice
- In the same interview, the club president has hailed the work from boss Xavi
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has insisted he is ‘not sorry’ about his bombshell decision to allow Lionel Messi to leave last summer – and heaped praise Xavi, predicting the manager will bring ‘many joys’ at the Nou Camp.
Superstar Messi was forced to bid an emotional farewell to his boyhood club after their jaw-dropping financial crisis left him unable to sign a contract extension, and he later joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
Laporta took to the helm in Catalonia for a second spell and inherited the off-field chaos, which saw him take the drastic move of allowing his talisman to leave.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said he is ‘not sorry’ for allowing Lionel Messi to leave
However, he has now revealed he does not regret his choice, despite labelling it the ‘saddest decision of all’, and says it was born of his desire to put the club first.
‘It was painful,’ he admitted in an interview with Barca TV, via Mundo Deportivo.
‘If I take stock, it is the saddest decision of all and I would never have wanted to make it, but I am not sorry either because I wanted to put the institution ahead of everything, even ahead of coaches and the best player in history.
Laporta also admitted the bombshell move was ‘painful’ but insists it was to put the club first
Messi had spent his whole career at the Nou Camp before leaving on a free transfer for PSG
‘And we had to do it. Because the situation we inherited is what it was. And due to a lot of will and intentionality we had, we came across a reality.
‘It might seem that there was nothing afterwards, but those of us who love Barça know that history continues and with work and well-thought-out decisions, we can continue on the path of success.’
Laporta attempted to balance the books in the face of the LaLiga side’s debts, which made keeping the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner quickly become an impossibility.
In the same in-house sit down, the club chief has also spoken about his thought process behind hiring legend Xavi as Ronald Koeman’s replacement.
Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi delivered a tearful farewell press conference (pictured)
He has even admitted that he regrets not turning to the former midfielder earlier.
‘I would have done it before,’ he added. ‘It’s clear to me. I should have listened to my intuition but in life you can’t listen to intuitions.
‘You have to take into account many situations. I’m sure no decision is perfect but I didn’t, I made another decision according to other circumstances. And in the end the decision was good because we have improved.’
Xavi has inspired a remarkable turnaround since taking the reins last November. His team are third in LaLiga after Memphis Depay scored a late winner against Eibar.
Xavi has inspired a dramatic turnaround at Barcelona, and his work has been hailed by Laporta
Ronald Koeman was sacked in late October, and Laporta says he regrets not axing him sooner
They also scored four goals against Napoli to progress in the Europa League.
Hailing the manager’s work, Laporta said: ‘I was sure that one day he would be the coach and hopefully he would be the president with me.
‘Xavi is responding amply, magnificently well. He knows the club, he loves it, he respects decisions, he has personality so as not to be influenced, he is very clear about how we should play and he is a worker.
‘He is sick of football and that makes him live with what Barca is and everything that surrounds the team. I am very satisfied to have a coach like him, for many years. I am convinced that he will give us many joys.’
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