FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has made some sensational claims about what transpired in the weeks before Lionel Messi's departure from the club. He says that the Argentine was swayed from staying with his boyhood club because he already had an offer from Paris Saint-Germain on the table.

Everyone knows that Messi's contract expired on June 30, and Laporta had been claiming at that time that everything was under control and a contract renewal was in the works. As it turns out, he was actually waiting for the former captain to make a somewhat unbelievable offer.

"I thought I was doing the best thing for Barcelona. I hoped there would be a change and that he'd say he'd play for free, but we cannot expect a player of his level to do that," said Laporta, in an interview quoted by Marca.

It may be remembered that Messi had actually already agreed to a massive pay cut, which is believed to have slashed his salary by up to 50 percent. However, Laporta expected the player to give up even more. He then went on to hint at his resentment that the Argentine was swayed by a better financial package being offered by the Ligue 1 giants.

"Everything indicates that he had the PSG offer before leaving Barcelona. We knew he had a big offer," said the president, without taking any of the responsibility for not being able to find a way to free up enough space in the salary cap to be able to accommodate the Argentine. He event went as far as to say that Messi's decision to sign with PSG is a disappointment even though it was the club that could not find a way to ratify a new deal.

"I love him too much to be angry, but there comes a time when you see that things just cannot happen, and there was disappointment on both sides," Laporta told RAC1.

Interestingly, Laporta hinted that Messi could have played for free, but there was the intention of compensating him for his work once the club finds itself in a more stable financial situation. He then blamed the PSG offer once more for not being able to make that arrangement a reality.

It's a bizaare declaration, with no professional player likely to accept such an "I owe you" kind of contract.

Meanwhile, Messi has moved on and is busy settling in with his new club in France, while Laporta is trying his best to rebuild the mess that was left behind at the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi
The injured Lionel Messi watched PSG's win over Montpellier from the stand AFP / FRANCK FIFE