Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi has come out against Barcelona president Joan Laporta, after Laporta claimed he asked Messi to play for free.
The 34-year-old made an emotional move to France this summer as the Spanish side continue to suffer from dire financial circumstances and couldn't keep him on the books.
The six time Ballon d'Or winner says he was 'hurt' by the accusations that Laporta and co asked him to play for free, something he said never happened.
"The truth is that, as I explained on my way out, I did everything possible to stay. Never at any time was I asked to play for free," he said in an interview.
"I gave everything for this club, for this shirt"
An emotional Lionel Messi says his final goodbye to Barcelona 😢 pic.twitter.com/CjkU1k6odl
— GOAL (@goal) August 8, 2021
After 21 years in a Barcelona shirt, there was no questioning the Argentine's loyalty to the club where he got his first senior start.
Messi explained the premise of some of the talks that were ongoing at the time. "I was asked to cut my salary by 50 per cent and I did it without any problem."
"We were in a position to help the club more. The desire of me and my family was to stay in Barcelona. Nobody asked me to play for free but at the same time."
It seems to me that the words said by the president are out of place. They hurt me because I think he doesn't need to say that, it's like getting the ball off you and not assuming its consequences, or taking charge of things. This makes people think or generates a type of doubt that I think I do not deserve.
Messi on Barcelona return: "It's what my wife wants and what I want. I don't know when my contract with PSG ends, but we will go back to Barcelona to live. I've always said that I would love to be able to help the club."
— Bolarinwa Olajide (@iambolar) November 1, 2021
Speaking in the interview, he said he hoped to return to Barca in a technical director role in the future, when his playing days were over.
Messi's New Start In Red & Blue
This week Messi and Paris Saint-Germain face RB Leipzig in a crucial Champions League game. Their 3 points earned over Manchester City earlier in the tournament could prove to be decisive.
The Argentinian is unlikely to feature in the game on Wednesday night as he was subbed off at half-time in their comeback win over Lille at the weekend.
Mauro Icardi was the substitute that came on for the injured Messi, who could lead the line this week in the absence of their star man.
Domestically, PSG sit top of Ligue 1 by a wide points margin, especially at this stage of the season. Their eight-point gap over Nice is a statement so far.
🗣️ Lionel Messi: “When I decided to come to PSG it was because of winning possibilities, because they have a great team. I want to continue to grow as a player, to win the Champions League after so many years of trying. That is why I decided to come here.” pic.twitter.com/pR74fjdW2h
— infosfcb (@infosfcb) November 1, 2021
Lionel Messi has had a mixed start to life in Paris, playing in a number of different attacking roles, most recently in a hovering number nine position.
He's enjoyed a much more fruitful time, as far as goals are concerned, in the Champions League for the French club as opposed to domestically.
Messi has scored three times over the course of three games so far in the competition. That's in contrast to a goalless league campaign in five appearances.
There are many big games to watch out for in the Champions League this week. A win for PSG would most certainly propel them into the driving seat to finish top of Group A.