Barcelona had the chance to KEEP Lionel Messi in summer transfer window as director claims ‘no player is above the club’

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BARCELONA chief Mateu Alemany has revealed the club could have kept Lionel Messi last summer but decided not to.

Messi, 34, left the Nou Camp because Barcelona could no longer afford the star due to their dire financial situation.

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Barcelona decided not to take a deal which would have allowed them to keep Lionel MessiCredit: Getty

The Argentine later revealed he did not want to leave to join Paris Saint-Germain but Alemany has admitted that he had to go.

He told Marca: “Unfortunately, Messi’s departure was not a surprise.

“It was the reality of the moment. The only way for him to stay was for Barça to join something that we did not want to join.

“We decided that the club was above any other person. We’ve lost a lot commercially.”

The deal Almenay is likely referring to is CVC’s bid to purchase 10 per cent of La Liga TV rights.

The proposed deal was worth £2.3billion and would have seen Barcelona boosted by a £238million cut, £36m of which could have gone to keeping players like Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

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But Barcelona decided the deal – which would have lasted 50 years – did not suit them.

So they rejected the proposal despite it being their last chance of hanging onto Messi.

Rivals Real Madrid also said no to the deal, as did Athletic Bilbao, with Los Blancos launching legal action against La Liga to block the deal from going through.

By offloading Messi Barcelona have been able to shave millions off the wage budget, which allowed them to strengthen in January.

Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived to strengthen Xavi’s attacking options and helped Barca beat Atletico Madrid 4-2 last week.

 Read our Transfer News Live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals

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