‘It shows their lack of experience at this level’: Joan Laporta fires shot at PSG for their pursuit of Lionel Messi, with Barcelona presidential candidate claiming French champions ‘could sign him… if they continue to break Financial Fair Play rules!’
- Lionel Messi’s contract at Barcelona expires this year and he looks likely to leave
- PSG head the queue of clubs interested in the 33-year-old Argentinean star
- PSG director Leonardo said: ‘Players like him will always be on PSG’s list’
- Joan Laporta, bidding to be Barca president, hit out at the French club’s conduct
Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has hit out over PSG’s pursuit of Lionel Messi, referring to their ignorance of Financial Fair Play rules.
Club legend Messi looks set to leave Barcelona upon the expiration of his contract this summer after his request to depart last summer was denied, with PSG front of the queue for the 33-year-old.
But Laporta, who is hoping to be re-elected president in March after his first tenure from 2003-2010, accused the Ligue 1 champions of being disrespectful after comments from PSG sporting director Leonardo that ‘players like Messi will always be on PSG’s list.’
Joan Laporta has hit out at PSG over their ‘disrespectful’ pursuit of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi
Laporta was responding to comments from PSG sporting director Leonardo about Messi
‘I find it inappropriate. It shows their lack of experience at this level,’ Laporta told L’Equipe. ‘They still have a lot to learn in the world of football.
‘I don’t know if this reaction is instinctive or if it’s a communication error. For my part, I have always respected other clubs.
‘I don’t know if they can sign him. Maybe yes if they continue to break Financial Fair Play rules… from what I know, they had significant losses last year. I would be curious to know if they will ignore the rules of FFP to recruit him.
Messi, who scored in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey win, looks set to leave when his deal expires
‘If that happens, I hope that UEFA and FIFA will react firmly and that the Court of Arbitration for Sport will not hold back when it comes to delivering its verdict.’
Leonardo added, in his interview with France Football, that: ‘We are seated at the large table of those clubs who are following the matter [Messi’s situation] closely.
‘In fact, no, we are not yet seated, but our chair is reserved just in case.’
Yet PSG boss and fellow Argentine Mauricio Pochettino refused to be drawn on a potential move for Messi.
PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino refused to respond directly when asked about signing Messi
‘Whatever I say will be misunderstood, and I love what I have here,’ Pochettino told Marca. ‘Great footballers fit in any league and any team.
‘I respect players who belong to other teams, because [the teams] can get angry and I understand why.
‘We understand that in the world of football there are no saints. Nobody can complain that each club does its best to improve their team. But this does not hide a hidden message on our part.’
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