Earlier in the summer, the club president explained that Barcelona’s wage bill with six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi on the books would equal 110 per cent of their income.
As a result, the Argentina star bid an emotional farewell in a press conference before signing for the Ligue 1 giants, PSG in the summer on a two-year deal.
Speaking on Catalan radio station RAC1 via Mundo Deportivo, Laporta, 59, said he had hope the 34-year-old would at the last minute agree to play for free and extend his 21-year stay, but he ultimately acknowledged a player ‘of his level’ could not do so, after PSG presented a ‘very powerful’ offer.
‘With Messi I do not get angry because I appreciate him. But when we see that he could not stay there is a certain disappointment on both sides. I know they had a huge desire to stay, but a lot of pressure because of the offer they had.
‘Everything indicates that he already had the offer from PSG. Everyone knew that he had a very powerful offer. We knew that from Messi’s side they had a very good offer.
‘I did hope that at the last minute Messi would say he would play for free. I would have liked that and he would have convinced me. I understand that the League would have accepted it. But we cannot ask that of a player of his level.
‘I thought it because I know him, he went up to the first team when I was there, I helped his family a lot. He knew that when we our economic situation recovered he would be reciprocated.’