Barcelona interim president Carles Tusquets has made a controversial claim about captain Lionel Messi and has reacted to Neymar’s comments about wanting to play with the Argentina international again.
Messi told Barca in the summer he wanted to leave but was unable to force an exit under previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Tusquets has taken over the job on a temporary basis after Bartomeu resigned in October and has explained it would have made economic sense to sell the 33-year-old in an interview with RAC1.
Economically speaking, I would’ve sold Messi in the summer window. Both in terms of what you save on the wage bill as well as the money you make, it would’ve been desirable. But this is something the coaching staff have to consent to and that’s not my place. La Liga are setting salary limits at the moment and this would’ve helped on that front.
The Argentine’s future remains at Barcelona remains uncertain. Messi is out of contract at the end of the season and able to talk to other clubs from January 2021.
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Tusquets Reacts to Neymar Comments
Tusquets also responded to Neymar’s comments about Messi. The Brazilian, who left Barcelona for PSG in 2017, told ESPN Argentina on Wednesday, “what I want most is to play with Messi again. I want to enjoy playing with him again on the field, surely next year we have to do it.”
It’s not clear if Neymar was talking about playing with Messi at PSG or Barcelona, but Tusquets played down the idea of the Brazilian returning to the Camp Nou due to financial reasons.
If he (Neymar) became available on a free transfer then maybe we could think about signing him. Without making sales, there’s no money for new signings unless the new president has incredibly deep pockets.
Neymar will not be a free agent until his current contract expires in 2022, although he has reportedly agreed to a new five-year deal with the French champions. Meanwhile, Barcelona will hold presidential elections on 24 January 2021.
There were rumors in November that Messi’s father and agent, Jorge Messi, was in talks with PSG over a potential move. However, the Argentine blasted the report as “fake news” in a post on social media.
Presidential Candidate Talks Neymar
Neymar’s comments have certainly caused a stir and led presidential candidate Joan Laporta to discuss the Brazilian in an interview with Catalunya Radio. Laporta announced his intention to run this week and is hoping to become Barcelona president for a second time.
The presidential candidate was asked about Neymar and wasn’t too surprised by the 28-year-old comments.
I’m not concerned with words. I have things that I’d like to say, but I won’t do it so that I don’t destabilize the team. The team are growing, we cannot destabilize them. I know what can do that, and I won’t play this game by giving the names of players who could come in.
It’s normal for Neymar to say that. They’re friends and have a relationship. I hope Leo can wait and listen to the proposal made by the new Barcelona president. We have contact with Leo and I know he respects me. We respect each other, but we haven’t discussed his renewal.
Barcelona’s next president will have a host of key issues to deal with after taking over the role but sorting out Messi’s future at the Camp Nou will surely be a top priority.