‘His words HURT me’: Lionel Messi slams Barcelona president Joan Laporta for saying he hoped the Argentine would ‘play for free’ amid club’s financial crisis that saw him end 18-year Nou Camp stay and join PSG
- Lionel Messi admits he was ‘hurt’ by Barcelona president Joan Laporta’s words
- Laporta admitted last month he wanted the Argentine to stay and ‘play for free’
- The Catalan club could not afford to keep star player Messi and he left for PSG
- And while he was never asked too, Messi has slammed Laporta for suggesting it
- The 34-year-old has also admitted that he hasn’t spoke to Laporta since he left
Lionel Messi has hit out at Barcelona president Joan Laporta for hoping that he would ‘stay and play for free’ in order to help the Catalan club in the middle of their financial crisis.
The club could not afford to keep hold of their greatest ever player amid their unprecedented financial woes, with the club racking up more than £1billion in debt and recording a £409million loss for last season.
While Messi agreed to a 50 per cent wage cut, the club were still not able to find a way to keep him which resulted in the Argentine ending his 18-year affliation with the club to join Paris Saint-Germain on a free.
Lionel Messi (left) admits he was ‘hurt’ by Barcelona president Joan Laporta (right), who had hoped the Argentine would stay and ‘play for free’ to help the club out
Laporta went on to sensationally admit in an interview last month that he had hoped Messi would stay and play for nothing – a suggestion that has ‘hurt’ the 34-year-old.
Speaking about his departure, Messi told Spanish newspaper Sport: ‘The truth is that, as I explained when I left, I did everything possible to stay.
‘I was never asked to play for free. I was asked to pay my salary with fifty percent. I did that without any problem. That’s how I wanted to help Barcelona. It was my and my family’s desire to stay in Barcelona. The president’s words were really not okay. They hurt me.
‘It felt like Laporta took the ball from me but then didn’t know what to do with it. He just didn’t have to say those things. Now people may think I’ve caused doubt. I don’t deserve that.’
Messi bid an emotional farewell in the summer, with the club unable to afford to keep him
The Catalan club could not afford to keep star player Messi, who ended up leaving for PSG
Messi went on to reveal that he hasn’t spoken to Laporta since he left the Nou Camp – but revealed that he would return to the club as technical director at some point in the future.
‘I’ve always said I’d like to come back and help the club in any way I could,’ Messi added. ‘I want to be useful, to help. So that it goes well with Barcelona.
‘I think it would be nice to be technical director, but I’m not sure if I can get that role and if I can get it at Barca. But if there’s an opportunity, I’m definitely open to it.
‘I love Barcelona, really hope the club gets healthy again and continues to be one of the best in the world.’
Messi has struggled to settle into his new life in Paris, with the forward still waiting to score his first Ligue 1 goal for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Messi has struggled to settle at his new club and is yet to score a goal for the club in Ligue 1
While he has broken his duck in the Champions League, his performances domestically have seen him come under criticism in recent weeks.
The forward explained that life is a lot different since moving to the French capital, where he has now been for two months.
Messi’s struggles in Ligue 1 continued last week when he was subbed off at half-time during their 2-1 win over Lille on Friday, with Pochettino confirming his compatriot had picked up a muscle injury but his withdrawal was just a ‘precaution’.
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