Messi ‘hurt’ by Laporta claims but keen on Barca return after PSG stint
- Lionel Messi said he was “hurt” by the “inappropriate” claims made by Barcelona president Joan Laporta on his exit
- Laporta had claimed he hoped Messi will agree to play for free until the final moments before his departure
- "Never at any moment did they ask me to play for free," Messi said
Lionel Messi has admitted he was “hurt” by the “inappropriate” claims made by Barcelona president Joan Laporta on his exit from the club, saying he was never asked to play for free. Barca were hoping to sign the Argentine on a new five-year-deal that would see his salary reduced by half.
However, it later became clear that the club will not be able to afford to renew Messi’s contract amid dire financial troubles. Messi then bid goodbye to his boyhood club in a teary press conference before joining Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent.
Laporta had later claimed he hoped Messi will agree to play for free until the final moments before his emotional departure. Reacting to those comments in an interview with Spanish outlet Sport, Messi said, “Never at any moment did they ask me to play for free. They asked me to reduce my salary by 50 per cent and I did it without any problem.”
“We were willing to help the club more. My desire and that of my family was to stay in Barcelona. No one asked me to play for free, but at the same time, the president's words were inappropriate. It hurt because I don't think there was any need to say that.”
"It's like taking the ball from you and not accepting the responsibility or taking charge of things. That makes people think and generates doubts that I don't think I deserve,” Messi said.
He also said he will return to Barcelona and live in the city after his PSG contract expires in 2023, but was not sure if he will return to the club in any capacity. He also said he would love to contribute to the club’s growth in the future as a technical director at some point.
“I've always said I'd love to be able to help the club do well in any way that I can be useful. I'd love to be a technical director at some point. I don't know if that'll be at Barcelona or if it might work out differently.”
“If the option is there, I'd love to contribute again in any way that I can because it's the club that I love and I'd love it to keep doing well, growing and remain one of the best in the world.”