Barcelona legend, Rivaldo, has revealed that he thinks Barcelona should have sold Lionel Messi instead of risking him leaving for free. The Argentine is on the last five months of his contract and will become a free agent by the end of June. Should the club have sold him instead, they would have at least gotten 100 million euros, similar to what Cristiano Ronaldo generated for Real Madrid with his transfer to Juventus.
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With the Catalan Kings under immense financial pressure, one thing has become clear, they need to sell some of their star players to avoid bankruptcy. While Philippe Coutinho is the clear choice of sale, according to Rivaldo it was foolish not to sell Messi when they had a chance in August. Instead, they chose to keep him till the end of his contract, hoping that they could persuade him to stay on at the club.
In August, Messi sent an official fax to the club’s president at that time, stating that he would be leaving the club. However, through some legal loopholes, Josep Maria Bartomeu was able to hold on to the six-time Ballon d’Or winner. The 33-year-old decided to play the last year of his contract but it is not sure if he will continue at the club beyond this season or not.
In a recent statement, Barcelona revealed that they had amassed a sum of 1.2 billion euros in debt and they need to make some serious changes and transfers to avoid going bankrupt. The ex-midfielder said in an interview with Betfair, that the club should have sold the player and that it is a big loss for them if he goes away for free. He said in the interview,
“As I mentioned previously, the club’s board made a mistake by not selling Lionel Messi while he was still under contract, something Real Madrid did with Cristiano Ronaldo, receiving around €100m in exchange. It’s sad to see such a talented and valuable player leaving Barca for free when the club is going through so many financial problems.”
He went on to suggest that the club should sell off Coutinho, their most expensive player, as he has failed to live up to expectations and it is unlikely that he will find the form that he used to have at Anfield. The Brazilian can still generate quite a bit of money and it would enable the club to keep players like Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann, players who have started to make some impact in recent games.
Should Barca have sold Messi for transfer fees?