Lionel Messi no longer plays for Barcelona, and he may never return. But the story of his departure is one that will be told for a long time – as a cautionary tale, if nothing else.
One has to be very cautious in deciding what to believe when it comes to the Messi case – there are a lot of different parties trying to spin the story in a way that favours them. But in the end, the truth is that the whole thing was a tragic combination of failures from all those different parties.
Joan Laporta has been speaking today to RAC1 about the situation, and he insisted that he was hoping until the last minute that Messi would agree to play for free, meaning he could stay at Barcelona. You can see his quotes here:
Interesting from Laporta to @EsportsRAC1 on Messi.
"What I did hope was he would have a change of heart, that he'd say: 'I'll play for free'. My understanding is La Liga would have accepted it, but we couldn't ask a player of Messi's stature to do that."
— Tom Allnutt (@TomAllnuttAFP) October 8, 2021
It’s an interesting thing to admit, as it effectively shows they gambled and lost, on the future of the club and its greatest ever player.
It doesn’t so much shift the blame, as admit to a flawed and naive strategy that backfired in the worst possible way.