Messi: Barcelona’s debt up to £1.15bn, says Laporta

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta on Monday gave details of the “dramatic” financial problems that persuaded him to release Lionel Messi.

“The economic and financial situation of the club is worrying, and the financial situation is dramatic,” Laporta told a two-hour press conference at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona, he said, have debts of 1.35 billion euros and a wage bill, at 617 million euros, that is “25 to 30 per cent higher than that of our competitors.”

“We are all tightening our belts, in a couple of years the club’s finances will be healthy.”

As for Messi’s departure, Laporta said that the two sides held “negotiations that both parties hoped would be fruitful but didn’t work out. There is a mutual disappointment.”

He confided that the Argentine’s presentation as a Paris Saint-Germain player on Saturday left him with “mixed feelings, like all Barca fans”.

“I would have preferred to see him at Barca, although we have made the right decision,” Laporta said. “I wish him all the best, I like to see him happy, he deserves it. From now on we will be an opponent.”

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