Messi couldn't have stayed even with Griezmann's exit - Barcelona president, Laporta


Barcelona president, Joan Laporta has insisted Lionel Messi could not have been retained even if the club had finalized Antoine Griezmann's return to Atletico Madrid sooner.

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The Blaugrana agreed fresh terms with Messi, but paperwork was never signed because of LaLiga strict financial rules.

Laporta admits it is "strange" to see the 34-year-old turning out for Paris Saint-Germain.

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He told Esport3: "What happened is what has been explained.

"There is objective data. Everyone can compare it. We were pressured that we would either sign the CVC loan [deal] or there is no fair play.

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"There was no margin. There was a pre-agreement [with Messi] and we had shaken hands. There were several agreements and La Liga seemed to accept it, but then they said no without CVC. We didn't think that the situation was going to improve and we put an end to it.

"Messi could not have stayed even with Griezmann's [departure] and with the salary reduction of the captains. But it is important that we have lowered the salary cap because next year we can be more ambitious.

"I think we were both sad because the situation was not what we wanted. I have not spoken with Messi since. I saw his debut with PSG and it was strange to see him at another team, rivals. I did not like seeing him in another shirt."


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