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Joan Laporta, Lionel Messi at the Copa del Rey 2021 final
Joan Laporta, president of Barcelona, said that he hoped Lionel Messi will stay with the club and "play for nothing".
After Barcelona's salary caps prevented them from renewing their contract, Messi, 34, moved to Paris St-Germain.
Despite agreeing to a 50% reduction in his previous contract, the Argentine, who won 10 league championships with the Catalan giants was forced to leave.
Laporta stated that "there was disappointment on both side."
He said that he hoped Messi would make a U-turn, and that he would claim he would play for free in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1. External-link
"I would have loved that, and I would have been all in favor of it. My understanding is that La Liga would have agreed to it. We can't ask Messi to do this.
Laporta stated again that Messi signing a new contract would have put the club at "risk".
Messi broke down during a news conference when his departure was announced.
Laporta also supported Ronald Koeman under pressure manager, with Barcelona falling to ninth in the La Liga table.
"I asked him whether he believed in the team, and he replied that he did. I have to bring the injured players back. He is determined to keep the team competitive and do everything possible.