Barcelona president Joan Laporta has hinted that former captain Lionel Messi could return to the club to finish his career before he finally decides to hang up his boots.
Messi made a shock exit from the Camp Nou in the summer and moved to Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, signing a two-year deal with the option for one more.
Laporta spoke to Esport 3’s Onze program on Monday about Messi’s exit and refused to rule out the possibility of the forward coming back to the club at some point, as reported by Diario Sport.
“Messi at Barça in the future?” he said. “This was not the end we had wanted for Messi at Barça. We’ll see. We will not close ourselves to anything.”
The Barcelona president also admitted he had not enjoyed seeing Messi make his debut as a substitute for PSG in a 2-0 win over Reims before the international break. He added, “Well, nobody wanted to get where we got. It was very sad. I saw his debut at PSG and it was sad, seeing him with another shirt … It’s a very strange feeling. I didn’t like seeing him with that shirt.”
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Laporta Talks Messi & Griezmann Exits
Laporta also opened up on the exits of Messi and Antoine Griezmann this summer. Barca confirmed an agreement had been reached over a new contract for Messi but then announced the captain could not continue at the club, “because of Spanish LaLiga regulations on player registration.”
The Barcelona president tried his best to explain why the Catalan giants had been unable to keep hold of Messi.
“We were pressured to sign the CVC agreement with La Liga. We had a pre-agreement with Leo for a long time but in the end La Liga did not accept it,” he said. “Everything that has been said about the Messi situation are objective facts. We were backed into a corner by La Liga. Either we accepted that CVC deal, which would have jeopardized the future of the club long term, or we couldn’t register Leo.”
Laporta also insisted that the club would not have been able to keep Messi, and comply with La Liga’s salary cap, even if Griezmann had been sold before the captain left. He added, “With all the sales and the departure of Griezmann we could not register Leo Messi either. Next year we will be able to have more ambitious objectives in the market.”
Griezmann Simply Didn’t Fit
Griezmann returned to former club Atletico Madrid on deadline day on loan with an option to buy. The Frenchman leaves Barca after failing to live up to his €120 million price tag and struggling to find a natural place in the team.
Laporta admitted that while Griezmann’s attitude and work rate can’t be faulted, the World Cup winner simply wasn’t a good fit for the Catalan giants.
“Griezmann? I think we all expected more from him, but he gave everything,” Laporta admitted. “He didn’t fit in our system, he was not the player we needed. He has always had a very good attitude. I have sent him a message wishing him that everything goes very well.”
The 58-year-old also took time out to back coach Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman is into the final year of his contract at the Camp Nou and Laporta says the coach has his “full support.”