This summer saw the unexpected departure of Lionel Messi from FC Barcelona. The Spanish club was unable to fit the 34-year-old’s contract under their salary cap and be compliant with La Liga’s rules on wages.
As a result, Messi had to leave and eventually would join Paris Saint-Germain. However, Barcelona President Joan Laporta hoped until the last minute that Messi would stay with the Spanish club.
During an interview with RAC1, Laporta stated that he would have liked the Argentine forward to play for free, considering Barcelona’s financial issues.
“I’m not mad at Messi because I appreciate him, but when the moment comes when both sides see that it can’t be done, there is some disappointment on both sides. I know they had a huge desire to stay, but there was also a lot of pressure because of the offer they had,” Laporta said.
“Everything indicates that they already had the offer from PSG. Everyone knew they had a very powerful offer. I was hoping until the last minute that Messi would tell me he would play for free. I would have liked that, and he would have convinced me, but we cannot ask a Messi-level player to do this.”
Messi did agree to take a pay cut, but even with that slash in wages, the La Liga side couldn’t fit him under their wage cap. Despite wishing to stay, it would have been a bad sign for Messi to play for free as it would set the wrong example for other clubs to use this for when they’re going through tough times financially asking players to play for free.