Barcelona interim president Carlos Tusquets has admitted that it made financial sense for the club to take advantage of Lionel Messi during the 2020 transfer window.
After Barcelona’s tumultuous season ended with a humiliating 8-2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, Messi requested a transfer during the summer.
Messi submits transfer request after Barcelona’s Champions League exit /Poll/Getty Images
The Argentine was linked with a meeting with former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, but was ultimately unable to leave the Camp Nou due to a €700m release clause in his Barcelona contract.
Barcelona have been in chaos this season, with the Catalan giants winning just four of their opening nine La Liga matches. The increasingly unpopular Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned as president in October, and the club has been forced to agree a wage cut with the squad to deal with the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Economically, I would have sold Messi in the summer window,” Tusquets – who is temporarily standing in as Barcelona’s interim president ahead of elections in January – told Spanish radio station RAC1 (via Reuters). Told to
“Both in terms of what you save on the wage bill and the money you make, it would have been necessary. But that’s something the coaching staff would have to agree to and that’s not my place.
Messi is Barcelona’s highest earner/Socrate Images/Getty Images
“La Liga is setting a salary cap at the moment and that will help on that front.”
Messi is Barcelona’s top earner, pocketing €565,000 per week. The club has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic given the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry.
In late November, Barcelona’s players agreed to take a €122m pay cut over the next three years to try to recover from the financial impact of the pandemic.
Messi has also been linked with a move to PSG – rumors denied by his father – and Neymar will reunite with his former team-mate in France next season after his side’s victory over Manchester United on Wednesday night. Wanted to play with a partner.