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Barcelona’s interim president Carlos Tusquets has clarified comments he made about Lionel Messi following criticism from head coach Ronald Koeman.
Tusquets appeared to suggest earlier this week that Barca should have sold Messi during the season finale after the superstar submitted a transfer request.
The 69-year-old, who intervened after Josep Maria Bartomeu and the board of directors resigned at the end of October, is said to have told RAC1: “Economically speaking, I would have sold Messi in the summer window.
“Both in terms of what you save on the salary bill and the money you make, it would have been desirable.”
Others in the race to succeed Bartomeu as Barça’s next president have also spoken at length about the uncertain future of Messi, who will become a free agent at the end of the campaign.
At a press conference on Friday, Koeman told the club’s top figures to stop making public statements on the sensitive issue.
FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 5, 2020
And Tusquets has now tried to clarify the issue in an interview with Catalunya Radio.
“I did not say that I had sold Messi. I said that economically his departure would have been good for the club, “he said.
“If necessary, I will explain to Koeman that they have mistranslated what I said.”
Messi has spent his entire career at the Camp Nou, but tried to leave before the 2020-21 campaign after being frustrated by the club’s performance under the previous regime.
Barça required the suitors to pay € 700 million, despite Messi trying to activate an exit clause in his contract that would have allowed him to walk away with a free transfer for a specified period at the end of the season.
By choosing not to drag Barça to court to force a move, Messi ultimately decided to stick around and watch the final year of his contract, which ends in June.
When asked if he had spoken to Messi’s advisers about his comments earlier this week, Tusquets said: “I am ready to speak with them to explain my answer.”
He added: “It is obvious that I am going to limit my appearances in the media from now on.”