BARCELONA president Joan Laporta says Lionel Messi was allowed to leave to save the club.
And the Spaniard slammed the previous administration at the Nou Camp for leaving a 'salary mess' that resulted in their best player and club legend exiting.
This is despite Messi wanting to STAY with the Spanish giants. But Laporta did confirm the 34 year old has 'offers' from other clubs.
Laporta gave an honest and open interview to reporters this morning just hours after six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi left.
And he confirmed that the Catalans simply could not afford to keep the striker on the books.
The Barca chief was asked if Messi could stay if LaLiga allowed a financial deal to happen.
But he answered: "We can’t live off dreams. I love dreaming but it’s not the case, we have to talk about the reality.
"We had an agreement, we can’t register it."
Laporta described how he inherited a 'salary mess' after succeeding Josep Maria Bartomeu as president.
He went on to explain that there were 'no margins' for negotiations with Messi, and admitted being shocked when presented with the finances of the club.
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The 59 year old said: "The current contracts mean we have this salary mess of great magnitude and it allows us no margin. It is all tied to Financial Fair Play.
"That is why we couldn’t fit the first contract we agreed with Lionel Messi.
"I have made a decision that will affect the club for the next 50 years. The club is over 100 years old and it is above everyone and everything.
"Even above the best player in the world, the player who has been with us over the years, we thank him for all he has done.
"The club is above players and presidents.
"The reasons why we have decided to get to this point is that there are objective reasons regarding the economical situation at the club. The investment of that value with the contract with Messi was risky.
"We wanted to assume the risk, all of us as a board, but when we realised the real situation, it meant we would have put the club at great risk, and the salary mess has a great deal to do with that.
"Leo wanted to stay at Barca, we wanted him to stay, the fact that he wanted to stay was the first step that was made, that was a key factor, he wanted to say.
"After all this, there comes a moment where you need to say, enough. You need to analyse it with a cold head and look at the numbers. And in the Spanish LaLiga we have to abide by the rules.
"We think it could be more flexible, but we know the rules."
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Laporta, who admitted he was 'sad' that Messi was leaving, was full of praise for the Argentine, and his father and negotation team.
He added: "Leo deserves everything. He has proven that he loves Barca, he has his roots at Barcelona.
"And if you allow me a personal thought, I am sad, but I am convinced we have done the best in the interests of the football club Barcelona."
Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites to sign Messi, with Manchester City also in the running.
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