Paris Saint-Germain’s sporting director, Leonardo, has admitted what everyone already knew: Lionel Messi did not want to leave FC Barcelona.
“I think his idea was to stay in Barcelona. Honestly, it was clear to him that his desire was not to leave and perhaps finish his career there.“ Leonardo told Canal+.
Messi wanted to remain at Barcelona, for a reduced salary, but was ultimately told he would not be able to remain with the club. Then, he decided to join Paris in Ligue 1.
PSG had long been rumored to be making a move for the Argentine superstar, something Leonardo admitted to at least partially.
“I cannot hide that we had contacted him before. But always after the month of January, when he was six months from the end of his contract. We never contacted Messi before January 2021,“ Leonardo said.
Rumors had linked PSG with Messi many times before that, although admitting to it officially could be problematic as it would suggest the Parisians ran afoul of tapping up rules.
“Then the story of Messi at Barcelona ended, and we arrived. The desire to come that he showed motivated us a lot to do so. To imagine a player like Messi with the PSG shirt is something huge and very beautiful,” he said.