Publish: 29 Jul 2023, 01:07 pm
Spanish club Barcelona 'tried everything' to re-sign Lionel Messi this summer, according to Barcelona president Joan Laporta, but were unsuccessful.
World Cup champion Messi's contract with Paris Saint-Germain ended at the end of the previous season, and this summer, he was strongly connected to a return to his old club Barcelona.
The Argentine attacker, 35, moved from Barcelona in 2021, where he spent the most of his career, and spent the previous two seasons there until playing his farewell match for the team in June.
"We did everything we could. It was very close. We had to manage our financial fair play situation so we needed time. At the end, we reached an agreement with LaLiga that authorised us to add him to the squad," Laporta said in an interview with ESPN Deportes.
Due to financial issues, Barcelona had to part ways with the greatest player in club history in 2021. There were rumors that Messi and Barcelona might reunite this season, and there were even reports of conversations taking place between the two sides, but Barcelona's delays as a result of the Financial Fair Play crisis and worries regarding registration finally convinced Messi to join the MLS.
"We appreciate him for making the decision to go to Inter Miami. He informed us that under the circumstances, it was the ideal move for him. He can also contribute significantly to Inter Miami and American football, according to Laporta.
When Messi confirmed his move to Inter Miami in early June, the Argentine said that he did not want to have to wait for Barcelona to find a formula to be able to sign him given their financial situation -- they were unable to keep him before his move to PSG, leading to a tearful departure.
"I was afraid that it would happen again," Messi had said in an interview with Spanish newspapers Diario Sport and Mundo Deportivo.
In the last seconds of stoppage time in Inter Miami's 2-1 League Cup victory over Cruz Azul, Messi scored the game-winning free kick, one of his trademarks, a left-footed curler to the top bar, to make his debut for the club.
In his first complete game for Inter Miami, the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner maintained his excellent form and scored twice as his club defeated Atlanta United 4-0 to go to the Leagues Cup quarterfinals.
Laporta said that Messi's happiness makes Barcelona happy.
"We are happy if Messi is happy. With the arrival of Messi, [Sergio] Busquets, [Jordi] Alba, Luis Suarez and perhaps Andres Iniesta, he will have a team of enormous quality and who have achieved everything in world football," the Barca president insisted.
When asked if there is a chance for Messi to return to Barça in the future, Laporta said: "Barça will always be his home and that is something that we will see when the time comes. It depends on a lot of things, on whether he wants to and if the circumstances are right.
'But Messi already knows that Barça will always be his home. That has always been the case with the great players that the club has had throughout its history."
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