Messi's departure wasn't a big surprise - Alemany
During a chat with university students, Barça's director of football admitted that Messi's departure damaged the club commercially.
During a chat with Sports Business students at London's School of Economics, Mateo Alemany admitted that Leo Messi's decision to leave Barcelona didn't take the club's board of directors by surprise.
“Sadly, Leo Messi's departure wasn't a surprise. It was the reality of the moment. The only way that he could have stayed was if Barça to commit to something which we didn't want to do. We decided that the club was above any one person. As a result, we have lost a lot commercially,” Alemany told students in declarations picked up by Mundo Deportivo. When Alemany spoke of the only option open to ensure Messi stayed at Barça, he was referring to the CVC investment fund which LaLiga has proposed.
The forum focused on economic issues and Alemany also admitted that, “Football is heading towards the North American model. FIFA and UEFA have to find the right balance between the best clubs and the fans within that format. People don't understand the Super League as a project, but it's the best clubs who are telling UEFA to count on them”.
Barcelona chasing Champions League slot
With that in mind, Barcelona's director of football added that it would be “a disaster” if the team doesn't qualify for the next edition of the Champions League, although he assured that, “With the squad we have, the idea of not qualifying for next season's Champions League isn't on my mind. Xavi has been doing really well in his first few months. We are very happy with the work he has done so far”.
With regard to the future, Alemany didn't want to make any guarantees about the possibility that the club could sign Erling Haaland and said a lot of hopes were on players coming up through the club's youth academy: “I can't talk about specific players. The only thing I can say is that FC Barcelona are still one of the best clubs in the world and our objective i always to have the most competitive squad. That is what we are working on. Signing a footballer is very different to hiring any other kind of employee. There are a lot of things to take into account - Financial Fair Play rules for example. It's very complex. If we had to sell a player for economic problems, the only option we would consider would be bringing in players from La Masia. They are the future of our club but that is not in our plans,” he concluded.