Barcelona legend Xavi has said that he feels ‘so sad’ for Lionel Messi over the circumstances of his exit from Camp Nou this week, resulting in the superstar signing for Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi had agreed a new five-year contract to remain a Barça player until 2026, only for the club’s failure to comply with La Liga salary cap rules leaving them unable to register the deal and forcing the 34-year-old out of the door against his or their will.
An emotional Messi bade farewell to Barcelona on Sunday, quickly agreeing a two-year contract with PSG and then touching down in the French capital for his unveiling on Tuesday.
Messi had agreed to take a 50% pay cut to stay at Barça, the club he first joined as a 13-year-old. It is the maximum wage reduction permitted by Spanish law, but the finances are in such a mess that even that was no way near enough to allow him to stay.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague wrote for the BBC this week: “It broke Messi’s heart and once again he feels betrayed by the club he has given so much to. Barcelona had asked him to accept a 50% reduction in wages and he accepted without even trying to negotiate it.”
Xavi, who played alongside Messi for 11 years at Camp Nou, feels sorry for his former teammate.
“I’m just so sad for Leo. It’s a pity to see him and the club couldn’t find a solution,” he told The Times.
“I know that Leo wanted to stay, but in the end it could not be sorted. The only thing I can say now is that I will miss him a lot. It’s even hard for me to picture Messi with a shirt other than Barça’s.
“It’s sad for Leo, especially for how I saw him emotionally at the Camp Nou the other day, but for Barcelona as well.”
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