“I’m as deluded as the president, I thought Messi could play for free”

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Leo Messi ceased to be a Barcelona player after LaLiga did not give Barcelona the go-ahead to process his new contract. It exceeded the club’s financial limits. Joan Laporta, the president, even thought the Argentine might have offered to play for free, a fanciful idea that Eduard Romeu, the economic vice-president, views favourably.

“I am just as deluded as the president, yes. It’s very legitimate what Messi has done, it’s not a criticism. But, seeing all the inconveniences they put in our way and with the effort the club was making, I thought he could play for free. Why shouldn’t LaLiga accept it? It’s very legitimate that a player could make this act of affection for a club, for some colours,” he said in an interview with ‘TV3’.

He was also asked about another important monetary aspect, the sponsor that will occupy the centre of the Barcelona shirt next season. Rakuten’s contract ends in June. “We don’t look at the current value, but at the pre-pandemic. Whoever wants to wear the name on the shirt has to pay for it,” he said.

On the great expense that the board is facing to be able to take on the ‘Espai Barça’, promoted during Josep Maria Bartomeu’s time, he explained: “It is a project that will only be paid for with extraordinary income. It will not generate extra costs for the club, but will bring in new resources thanks to the exploitation of the space.

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