Barcelona tried to sign the Argentina star to a new contract after his previous one expired at the end of last season
Lionel Messi did not deserve to leave Barcelona in the manner he did and his departure could have been avoided, insists La Liga president Javier Tebas.
Barcelona tried to sign the Argentina star to a new contract after his previous one expired at the end of last season.
But they were unable to come to an agreement despite both parties wanting to continue their partnership, with Barca citing La Liga's financial restrictions as the reason behind the collapse in talks.
What has been said?
Tebas admits the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's departure comes as a blow for the Spanish top flight, even more so than the loss of other important figures.
He told Sport : "Just like when Cristiano Ronaldo, Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho left. We knew that one day this would happen.
"We have had the great luck of having the two best footballers in the world in the two best teams in the world and from La Liga we have been able to take advantage of this to put ourselves on the world front line.
"Perhaps Messi's departure has been a bit more painful, because personally I consider him the best in history, and he didn't deserve to leave like that, not only for Barça but for La Liga as well."
Was Messi's exit avoidable?
After Messi and Barca gave up on him signing a new deal, the forward was snapped up by fellow European giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Tebas insists the 34-year-old could have stayed at Camp Nou, however, and is confident that will be proven when the club's financial figures are released.
"I discussed it with [Barcelona president Joan] Laporta personally, by phone, and with his board of directors. Solutions were sought, if the reason was economic. If it has been for another reason, I can no longer value it," Tebas said.
"I think that next season, with the numbers that Barca release, we will see if Messi could really have stayed or not. And although I respect the decision of the club, you have to tell things as they are.
"It was not an economic decision. I know for sure."