Laporta: I wish Messi would play for Barcelona for free

Barcelona club president Joan Laporta admitted that he had hoped that Argentine star Lionel Messi would stay in Catalonia and offered the idea of ​​playing for free with the team, before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain. Messi joined the capital club last August after Barcelona decided not to renew his contract due to new La Liga laws related to salary caps. “There came a time when it was clear to both sides that things had become impossible. There was disappointment on both sides,” Laporta said in an interview with RAK1 radio, adding, “He wanted to stay, but they put a lot of pressure because of their offer. They realized that if he didn’t stay, He will go to Saint-Germain. “I hoped Messi would change his mind and say he would play for free. I would have loved it if it had happened. I think La Liga would have accepted it. But we can’t ask a player of Messi’s stature to do that.” Laporta reiterated that the club’s poor financial situation prevented the possibility of maintaining Messi on the same terms. Barcelona recorded a loss of 481 million euros ($556 million) last season, and a total debt of 1.35 billion euros. “We got the results of the audit and investing in Leo would have put us at risk,” Laporta said, also suggesting that Barcelona could sign a deal with investment fund CVC Capital Partners. La Liga told Barcelona in August that it could keep Messi if the club agreed to a deal to sell the league 10 percent of its commercial rights, including those related to television broadcasting, for 50 years for 2.7 billion euros. However, the Catalan club, Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao rejected this offer. Laporta explained, “We don’t need more debt. I understand that La Liga clubs are suffering. We have not excluded ourselves from this process but they have to change it. They are trying to rework the deal.”

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