Barcelona's interim president believes that Lionel Messi should have been released this past summer, citing the financial alleviation it would have given the club. Carles Tusquets said as much in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1.
Messi shocked the sporting world earlier this year when he announced he wanted out at the club he'd spend his entire professional career with. Those plans fell through when the club said he missed a deadline to walk away on his own terms, and enforced a 700 million euro ($850,444,000 USD) buyout clause to get him to leave.
"Speaking from a financial standpoint, yes. But that is something that would have had to have been absolutely agreed with the coaching staff. From an economic standpoint, it would have been desirable to sell Messi," Tusquets said, per ESPN.
Now, instead of reaping any sort of financial benefit for the greatest player to ever suit up for the club, Messi will be allowed to go wherever he wants as a free agent this summer. Clubs can approach him starting in January.
Despite his decision, albeit a forced one, to stay with the Catalonian club, the transfer saga enraged fans who demanded that club president Josep Maria Bartomeu step down from his position. He eventually did just that in October.
Just like the executives of many other clubs and sports franchises around the world, Tusquets has cited the loss of revenue and other financial concerns that the coronavirus pandemic wrought throughout 2020 as a main reason behind business decision. He told RAC1 that the Spanish top flight is apparently "demanding salary caps," and that a Neymar reunion is only likely if the club doesn't have to pay a transfer fee for the current Paris Saint-Germain winger.
"If he comes as a free agent, we could consider it," Tusquets said. "If not, there is no money [for a transfer] unless there's a new president that holds a miracle in his hand. If we do sell [players] and the coaching staff is in agreement, then why not?"
Of course, that's contingent on Messi staying. What began the potential for a reunion was Neymar saying on Wednesday that he wants to play with the Argentine superstar again. With the entire world being Messi's oyster in regards to his next stop, and the breakdown this past summer, it's hard to imagine that it happens with Barcelona.