‘Disgusting’ Barcelona Ripped Over Lionel Messi Exit

Lionel Messi

Getty Lionel Messi at his farewell press conference

Lionel Messi’s shock departure from Barcelona has sent shockwaves throughout the world and has seen the Catalan giants come in for some heavy criticism for the way they treated the 34-year-old Argentina international.

Barca’s behavior has been branded “disgusting” by European football journalist Graham Hunter who has interviewed Messi and authored the book Barça: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World.

Hunter spoke extensively about Messi’s departure to Off the Ball and made it clear exactly what he thought of the way the club’s greatest ever player left the Camp Nou and subsequently ended up joining Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

“I’m delighted for him. He was in tears obviously for leaving because it was brusque. It was dealt to him like a card from down a dealers’s sleeve. As an objective person, I’m not a Barca fan, but as an objective person. I think the way they treated him over the last 14 months, and that’s two presidents Bartomeu and Laporta, was disgusting,” he said. “Genuinely I mean that word with full force, disgusting. He was lied to and he was treated with disrespect and I have no time whatsoever for people who talk about ‘well he earned lots of money he’s part of the problem.’ Wrong. His rewards over the years were in line with other great sportspeople.”

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Barcelona Branded ‘Ruinously Infantile’

Messi left despite the club having agreed a contract renewal with Barcelona. A statement from the Catalan giants read the deal could not go through, “because of Spanish LaLiga regulations on player registration.”

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has subsequently revealed the club has debts of €1.35bn (£1.1bn), and Hunter also hit out at the management of the club. He added, “The way in which the club went wrong was being ruinously infantile in how they ran the club,  both in sports and financial terms, and then being hit be a pandemic. Sod’s law – you will always be hit by the most damaging thing when you can least afford that to happen.”

Messi’s contract had expired at the end of June but the Argentine had been expected to pen a new two-year deal at the Camp Nou. Laporta had insisted throughout the summer that “everything was on track” with Messi’s renewal which made the club’s statement announcing the captain’s departure even more shocking.

Laporta Ripped For Messi Exit

The 34-year-old then held a tearful farewell press conference at the Camp Nou where he admitted he had not wanted to leave the club. Hunter was also full of criticism for the way Laporta handled the situation.

“The thing that rankles a little bit is to see a departure like this. When he came back to the club from his holidays having won the Copa America, one of the two big trophies he craved, and thought he was signing a deal to stay and then he was told, ‘you’re out, we can’t afford it,'” he added, “Hold on a second what have we been negotiating over for the last 10 weeks? That stank too and that’s the current president Joan Laporta. So, I’m very happy to have seen him here, happy to have listened to him, met him, interviewed him. It’s been a privilege, not just in career terms, a life privilege, to be that near to that kind of genius.”

Messi has since moved to PSG and signed a two-year deal with the French side. The Argentina international is expected to make his debut on August 29 away at Reims in Ligue 1.

READ NEXT: Barcelona’s Jordi Alba Hits Back At ‘Lies’ Over Messi’s Exit


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