Carles Tusquets has revealed that he wished Barcelona would have sold Lionel Messi last summer as he pushed for a sensational move away.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was on the brink of leaving Barcelona last summer following an incredible 19 years after becoming disillusioned with the club’s hierarchy and performances on the pitch.
However, Messi – who was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League with Manchester City – decided to perform a U-turn after Barcelona had blocked his transfer by demanding his astronomical release clause of £625million was met.
The uncertainty surrounding Lionel Messi’s future remains the major talking point at Barcelona
But now interim president Tusquets – who has stepped in following Josep Bartomeu’s departure – has admitted he would have parted ways with Messi from an economic viewpoint, with the club suffering hugely amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Tusquets told RAC1: ‘Economically speaking, I would have sold Messi in the summer.
‘It would have been desirable for the money you would’ve received and the money you would’ve saved. La Liga requires wage limits.’
In October, Barcelona released a grim set of economic figures, showing a loss of £88m in the financial year, while the club’s net debt had more than doubled to £440m amid the coronavirus crisis.
Barca’s interim president Carles Tusquets has admitted he would have sold Messi last summer
Barcelona have been desperately searching for ways to ease their financial troubles and just recently reached an agreement in principle with their players to implement wage cuts which will save the club a staggering £109m.
Talks had been ongoing for months for squad-wide wage cuts amid the financial turmoil caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with manager Ronald Koeman taking a cut on his £10m-a-year salary.
And Barca finally announced an agreement had been reached which will save £109m – yet with the club also deferring £45m of variable payments over a three-year period on top of that, it still falls short of the £170m figure the club has long been targeting to save via player salaries.
Meanwhile, Messi is out of contract next June and is set for a sensational move away from the club he joined back in 2001.
But while Tusquets would have been willing to bow to Messi’s demands in the summer transfer window, those in the running for Barcelona presidency hold a completely different view.
Spanish giants Barcelona are in financial turmoil amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
Both Victor Font and Joan Laporta are desperate to keep their star man at the Nou Camp, where he has scored an astonishing 641 goals and provided 282 assists in 743 appearances.
But it appears they have an extremely difficult task on their hands to persuade Messi to remain in Barcelona after he went on the attack against his club once again last month.
Following the recent international break with Argentina, Messi was mobbed by the media as he touched back down in Barcelona as they quizzed him about his delicate situation at the Nou Camp.
Messi had been asked about the stinging comments from Antoine Griezmann’s former agent Eric Olhats – who claimed the Argentine has a ‘deplorable attitude’ and has overseen a ‘regime of terror’ at Barcelona.
And Messi responded in a brief statement: ‘I’m tired of always being the problem for everything at the club.’
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s contract with Barcelona expires in June next year