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Barcelona president talks Lionel Messi failed return and tribute match: “We respect his decision”

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has emphasized that the tribute to Lionel Messi, the football luminary who has shattered numerous pivotal records in the club’s history, will take place at a time of convenience for the Argentine maestro and his family.

Speaking in an interview with EFE (h/t TUDN), the Barça president shed light on several aspects while also revealing why Messi’s return to Barcelona in the summer of 2023 did not materialize.

Once it was made public that Messi would not continue at Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona did everything in their power to bring him back in Catalonia.

The Argentina captain, however, had his reservations over Barcelona’s financial situation and thus decided to move to the United States instead.

“In the end, it didn’t happen, because what he told us was totally logical: because of the pressure he had been under in Paris he preferred to go to Inter Miami because that would give him some stability. A decision that we respect,” said Laporta.

Messi will not play for Barcelona

The Barcelona president was also asked if there are any chances that Messi might return to Catalonia from Inter Miami on loan, to which he said, “News of all kinds come out, but I believe that this is not even allowed by FIFA.”

Lastly, he also pointed out the sheer importance Messi continues to hold within the Barcelona corridors, saying that the team is open to having a tribute match for the Argentine.

“We are open to doing it whenever he wants. Messi is the best player in history, and because we respect and adore him, he, of course, deserves to be honoured in Barcelona. 

“I do not know whether Messi will be honoured when we return to Spotify Camp Nou at the end of 2024 or when the stadium is completely built by July 2026,” he said.

As far as the new stadium is concerned, it is to be noted that upon its scheduled reopening, Camp Nou will accommodate 70,000 spectators.

Following the completion of the renovation, the stadium’s seating capacity will be expanded to accommodate a total of 105,000 seats.

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