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Messi ‘hurt’ by Barcelona president Laporta’s comments

Lionel Messi, Joan Laporta
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After the FC Barcelona president suggested he could’ve continued at Camp Nou without pay, Lionel Messi sought to set the record straight.

Lionel Messi insists that Barcelona president Joan Laporta never asked him to play for the club for free.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has described Laporta’s recent comments on his departure from Camp Nou as hurtful and reiterated that he did everything possible to stay in the summer.

Of course, it didn’t end that way.

Despite agreeing to halve his salary, Messi still had to leave Barcelona. The club’s precarious financial situation, on top of La Liga’s FFP rules, made a new deal impossible. Therefore, he signed an initial two-year contract with French giants Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent.

What did the president say?

“I hoped Messi would do a U-turn and he would say he would play for free,” Laporta told RAC1 in October.

“I would have liked that and I would have been all for it. It is my understanding La Liga would have accepted it. But we cannot ask a player of Messi’s stature to do this.”

What did Messi have to say?

“The truth is that, as I explained on my way out, I did everything possible to stay, never at any time was I asked to play for free,” he told Sport.

“I was asked to cut my salary by 50 per cent and I did it with no problem. We were able to help the club more. The desire of me and my family was to stay in Barcelona.

“Nobody asked me to play for free but at the same time, it seems to me that the words said by the president are out of place. They hurt me because I think he doesn’t need to say that. It’s like getting the ball off you and not assuming its consequences, or taking charge of things.

“This makes people think or generates a type of doubt that I think I do not deserve.”

Messi also opened up on his plans to return to Barcelona in the future as a technical secretary.