Lionel Messi on receiving end of another dig as his Barcelona claims contradicted

By Colin Millar

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has appeared to aim a subtle dig at Lionel Messi when discussing the possibility of the Argentine returning to the club.

Laporta discussed the possibility of a Messi return to Barcelona during the presentation of the club’s new signing Dani Alves on Wednesday.

The Argentine stunned football in August when it was announced that he would be leaving the Catalan giants, where he had spent the entirety of his professional career.

He subsequently joined Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year contract this summer as Barca were unable to register him in their squad for this campaign.

Laporta reiterated his hope that the superstar would return to the Camp Nou in the future but appeared to contract the player’s version of events regarding his exit.

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The Barca chief claimed Alves ‘also made a significant financial effort to return’ when discussing Messi – with the unsaid part of that sentence alluding to the Argentine not doing so.

Laporta told reporters on Wednesday: "It (a return) has happened with Dani, who has already said that age is just a number and has also made a significant financial effort to return.

"You are talking about two spectacular players, with Leo and Andres.

"I cannot predict the future, they are still playing.

"We will always keep them in mind, but at the moment they have current contracts with other clubs.

"You never know in life."

It is not the first time that Laporta’s remarks in the subsequent months have contradicted Messi’s version of the club not allowing him to continue.

Back in October, Laporta said : "Am I angry with him? No, I love him too much to be angry.

"But there comes a time when, when you see that it was not possible to stay, there is disappointment on both sides.

"There was a desire to stay, but pressure with the offer he had (from PSG)

"We knew that if he did not stay, he would go to PSG.

"Messi will go down in the history of Barça as the best player ever for the club and I would like to preserve this idea.

"Everything indicates that he had the offer from PSG before he left Barça.

"We knew, during the negotiation, that he had a very powerful offer from elsewhere.

"When it came time to make the decision, I thought I was doing what was the best thing for Barça.

"I hoped there would be a change of direction and he would stay to play for free, but we cannot think that a player of that status would do that."

Messi has already addressed these quotes – without directly naming Laporta – as causing him ‘hurt’ and rebuffing their accuracy.

The Argentine forward told Sport earlier this month: "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.

"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.

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"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."

While Laporta is publicly voicing his support for Messi to return, there appears to be subtle and thinly-veiled digs at the Argentine’s role in his summer exit.

This is somewhat of a surprise standoff whereby the player and his former president are at loggerheads.


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