Life for Barcelona without Lionel Messi has been hell, the team, which sits ninth in LaLiga with 3 wins, 3 draws, and only 1 loss, is far away from their glory days. A roster of young players is carrying the burden of being the first Barcelona team post Lionel Messi.
As is publicly known Lionel Messi could not resign with Barcelona due to the enormous amount of debt the club had accumulated, and Messi’s contract offer violated salary cap restrictions of LaLiga. Messi would move on to PSG and Barcelona were left without Messi and 1 billion Euros in debt.
In an interview with RAC1, Barcelona president Joan Laporta was hopeful despite the contract issue, that Messi would have stayed at the club and played for… free. Here is what Joan Laporta had to say about Messi.
Joan Laporta wanted Messi to play for free at Barcelona
"I love him too much to be angry… But there comes a time when you see that things just cannot happen, and there was disappointment on both sides… There was a desire for him to stay, but pressure because of the offer he had. He knew that he'd go to PSG if he didn't stay.” Laporta noted.
"When it came to making the decision, I thought I was doing the best thing for Barcelona. I hoped there would be a change and that he'd say he'd play for free, but we cannot expect a player of his level to do that… We have a very good relationship. I knew that if we recovered financially, we would compensate him, but we couldn't make demands knowing the offer he had in Paris.” Laporta added.
While Laporta makes it seem that Messi had the ball in his court, that was not the case. Both sides were well aware of LaLiga’s salary cap restrictions and were hopeful the league would turn a blind eye in order to keep the best player in the world in LaLiga. With no real backup plan Laporta had to cut his losses and let Messi go for free.