Lionel Messi exit from Barcelona an ‘own goal’ claims former Bayern Munich chief

The Argentine superstar left the Camp Nou last month after the club claimed they were unable to renew his contract due to La Liga’s economic restrictions on their budget

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  • 12:51, 13 Sep 2021
  • Updated12:55, 13 Sep 2021
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Former Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes Lionel Messi being allowed to leave Barcelona was an ‘own goal’ for the club and the league.

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The Argentine ended his career-long association with the Catalan giants last month with the club stating that they were unable to renew his contract due to economic restrictions imposed by the league.

The 34-year-old then gave a tearful farewell press conference at the Camp Nou before joining Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year contract.

La Liga chief Javier Tebas hit back at Barca’s reasoning for Messi’s departure over the weekend, when claiming: "It was not an economic decision. I know for sure."

Barcelona were unable to register a new contract for Lionel Messi this summer

Rummenigge – who stepped down from his long-serving role at Bayern this summer, with former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn assuming the position – has criticised the manner of Messi’s departure from the Camp Nou.

The former Bayern forward and Germany international has said: "In a matter of three years, La Liga has lost its two stars. Cristiano went to Juventus and, now, Messi to PSG. Both leave a gap in terms of marketing that cannot be filled.

"Everyone is free to say what they want to, but I consider it to be an own goal that they (Barca) have been forced to release Messi due to financial fair play consequences.

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"When you accumulate so many expenses it is normal that the accounts do not end up within the budget, especially after what the coronavirus has meant for everyone.

"The path that they are facing now is tough, but also a correct and necessary one.

"Reducing expenses seems essential with more than €1,300million of debt. There is no alternative. And my good friend Joan Laporta also knows it."

Rummenigge was also full of praise for Laporta, who was re-elected to the position of Barca president in March but has overseen a summer of tough decisions at the Camp Nou.

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The German added: "Joan is a sensational guy. And a better leader. He already led the club during its most glorious time with Pep as coach and I cannot be more convinced that he will also be able to get Barça out of this crisis."

Bayern play Barca in their opening Champions League group game this midweek – the first meeting between the side’s since the German giants humiliated the Catalans 8-2 at the quarter-final stage in 2020.

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Rummenigge reminisced: "It was crazy.

"We all thought we were in a dream, and they were going to wake us up at some point. I think I never lived and will never experience something like this again. Our team was in a trance.

"And that game helped him to believe that he could win the Champions League. What Hansi Flick and our team did in Lisbon was exceptional."

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