FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta spoke to members of the press during a press conference on Monday. He discussed the club's financial crisis, as well as the details of what transpired during Messi's botched contract negotiations.

Laporta admitted that he was not happy by the way things ended between the club and their former captain. "I think it has been a successful relationship that has lasted many years and in the end it has deteriorated," he said,

The Barca president, however, emphasised that Messi and the club wanted same thing, which was for their relationship to continue. "I have seen some statements from Messi very much in line with what we have explained. The statements from both sides were along the same lines," Laporta said.

He admitted that he was not prepared to face the real magnitude of the club's financial crisis. When he took the reins as the club's new president in March, he asked for an internal audit that finally showed him the real picture.

"If we thought it could be done, it was because we only knew the figures from the previous board. We presented La Liga with losses of 89 million [euros] that allowed us to do our best," he said, before confirming previous reports that Messi had agreed to a massive pay cut just so the club could meet a Liga's salary cap.

"We saw that it could not happen, despite the fact that the player made many efforts to fit his contract into the salary cap. When we saw the magnitude of the [financial] disaster we saw that it could not be done," he said.

FC Barcelona is now 1.3 billion euros in debt, and Laporta has been left with the responsibility of turning things around. It became even more complicated now that their biggest marketing asset, Messi himself, is no longer with the club.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has since signed for French giants Paris Saint-Germain. "His presentation felt strange. Like all Barcelona fans, I would have preferred to see him at Barcelona, but we have made the right decision because Barcelona is above everything," said Laporta.

"I wish him all the best, I like to see him happy, he deserves it. Now maybe we will be rivals and as rivals we have to deal with him," he added, before expressing confidence in Barcelona's current squad.

"I prefer to remember the good moments and not the bad ones. We are excited about the team and Leo looks happy in Paris," he concluded.

Lionel Messi
Graphic with the achievements, personal records and most important moments in the career of Argentine football player Lionel Messi. AFP / Enric BONET-TORRA