Barcelona President Joan Laporta said on Friday he had hoped Lionel Messi would change his mind about leaving the club and offer to play for free.
Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain in August after Barca decided not to renew the Argentinian’s contract due to La Liga’s strict salary limits.
“There came a time when both parties saw that it would not be possible. There was disappointment on both sides,” Laporta told Catalan radio station RAC1.
“He wanted to stay but they also had a lot of pressure because of the offer they had. They knew if he didn’t stay, he would go to PSG.”
Laporta continued: “I hoped Messi would do a u-turn and he would say he would play for free.
“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.”
“We had the conclusions of the audit (on Wednesday) and the investment in Leo would have put us at risk,” said Laporta, who also suggested Barcelona could yet sign up to a deal with investment fund CVC Capital Partners.
“We do not need more debt. I understand La Liga clubs are suffering. We have not ruled ourselves out of this operation but they have to change it. They are trying to reformulate the deal.”