Messi Should Have Been Sold – Barcelona President, Tusquets Says

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Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi leaves the pitch after getting a hat-trick during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO
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Interim Barcelona president Carles Tusquets said Thursday that the club should have sold Argentine star Lionel Messi in the summer.

Messi made an attempt to leave Barcelona this summer before backing down.

He can talk to other clubs in January and leave for free when his contract expires in June, with Manchester City expected to make a renewed attempt to lure the 33-year-old away from Camp Nou.

“From an economic point of view, I would have sold Messi this summer. Economically, that would have been desirable,” Tusquets told Catalan radio Rac1.

“La Liga imposes salary caps and that would have helped us,” Tusquets said when asked what a potential transfer would have offered.

Tusquets, who took over as interim president after the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu in October, all but ruled out a return of Neymar to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain.

“If he comes as a free agent, that could work, but if we don’t sell, we won’t be able to recruit. It won’t be possible, unless the next president (who will be elected on January 24) has a miracle in his hands,” said Tusquets.

Barca’s financial status, Tusquets added, was “worrying, very bad, but with hope”.

“We will not be able to pay salaries in January,” he said.

“In January, the players will not be paid, but it’s not serious. The players have two big paydays, in January and July. That has been delayed, as have title bonuses.”

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