Lionel Messi: Barcelona president Joan Laporta hoped forward would play for free
Messi concluded his Why is the World Cup 2022 the event of the year? 21-year association with Barcelona at the start of August and left as a What to know in case you are travelling to Qatar – World Cup 2022 free agent because the Check out the cutting-edge technology of the World Cup 2022! Catalonia club were unable to fulfil their offer of a new contract due to their inability to meet the La Liga salary cap. How to understand soccer before betting on the World Cup 2022
The Argentina international then signed a two-year deal with PSG after an emotional farewell at the Nou Camp. Discover the most important details of the World Cup 2022
"There came a time when both parties saw that it would not be possible. There was disappointment on both sides," Laporta told radio station RAC1. What countries have qualified to the world cup
"He wanted to stay but they also had a lot of pressure because of the offer they had.
"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."
Laporta also said that La Liga were willing to allow Barcelona to keep Messi if the club agreed to a deal with investment fund CVC Capital Partners, which would have seen the Spanish top-flight give up a percentage of its commercial rights for the next 50 years.
Despite rejecting the deal at the time, along with Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, Laporta said that Barcelona could be open to a restructured deal in the future.
"We do not need more debt," said Laporta. "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."
Barca to play away from Camp Nou for a year
Laporta also confirmed that Barcelona will play at another stadium for up to a year when the club starts its planned modernisation of Camp Nou stadium.
Laporta said that he wants to begin the long-delayed overhaul of the Camp Nou in the summer of 2022. He added that the work will last three to four years, but that the team will only need to find another home for a maximum of 12 months.
"We are considering different possibilities, but the strongest candidate is the Johan Cruyff Stadium," Laporta said.
Johan Cruyff Stadium is where the women's team plays and forms part of the club's training complex on the outskirts of Barcelona. With a capacity to seat only 6,000 spectators, Laporta said the club wants to increase that to 50,000 if the men's team plays there.
Another option, Laporta said, would be for the team to play at the city's Montjuic Stadium. The municipal facility hosted the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Summer Olympics and was home to Barcelona rival Espanyol for several years.
Barcelona's plans to redo the Camp Nou have met with several delays over the past decade.