Football

We should have sold Lionel Messi: Barcelona's interim chief

Barcelona's interim president Carlos Tusquets feels the club should have cashed in on Lionel Messi during the summer transfer window.

Messi was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City and sent a letter stating his intention to leave as he had become disillusioned with the direction the now former board had taken the club.

Ex-Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned in October rather than face a vote of no confidence, with Tusquets taking temporary charge until next month's elections.

"Economically speaking, I would've sold Messi in the summer window," Tusquets told RAC1 radio station.

"Both in terms of what you save on the wage bill as well as the money you make, it would've been desirable. But this is something the coaching staff have to consent to and that's not my place.

"La Liga are setting salary limits at the moment and this would've helped on that front."

Messi's contract expires next June, when he is expected to leave for free. On Wednesday, former Barca teammate Neymar spoke of his desire to link up with the Argentinian again.

Tusquets conceded that scenario was unlikely to transpire at the Nou Camp, where the purse strings have been tightened following the Covid-19 crisis.

"If he (Neymar) became available on a free transfer, then maybe we could think about signing him," he said.

"Without making sales, there's no money for new signings unless the new president has incredibly deep pockets."

Messi was rested as Barcelona, who had already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, trounced Ferencvaros 3-0 in Budapest, with goals from Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele. - REUTERS

Football