The ex-Barcelona president stopped the Argentina international from departing Camp Nou in 2020, but he joined the Ligue 1 side when he hit free agency the next summer.
Josep Maria Bartomeu
in the summer was a “mistake” and he insisted that he would have only permitted him to leave for MLS or Asia.
In 2020, when the Argentine talisman pushed for a departure, that stance was taken, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner being informed that he cannot leave until the end of his contract.
The deal finally reached its end and due to mismanagement, Messi wasn’t registered and eventually departed Camp Nou, making a move toParis Saint-Germain
Bartomeu, who took responsibility for the economic problem in Catalunya, talked to Mundo Deportivo about his successor, Joan Laporta, who couldn’t retain Messi’s services:
“I have always thought that it is essential that he be with us, not only because he is the best in the world, but also because of his economic and institutional contribution.
“It is a mistake to let Messi go. He represents much more than a footballer.”
The Blaugrana were left to watch Messi depart and join the Ligue 1 side, whose spending power and the fact that they have Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at their disposal played a role.
Asked about the infamous Burofax incident of 2020 in which Messi told Barca of his decision to move on, Bartomeu said:
“Messi wanted to leave the club, we talked about it and I said no.
“I have always thought that Messi is very important to our club, Barca is also very important to him and it would be a serious problem if he left, as I think it has become now.
“I told him that if he wanted to go like Xavi and Iniesta, to Qatar, China or the United States, we can talk about it and we will do a tribute and a farewell. But Messi didn't have a team yet and he wanted to be free.
“We told him: 'we want Barca to be your last club in Europe. If you want to go to another continent later, no problem, but we want you to continue'.
“That was a bit of the story of the summer of 2020 - us telling him that we wanted him to continue and him saying that he wanted to leave, but without knowing where. I always asked him where he wanted to go.”
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