Barcelona's President, Joan Laporta, has insisted that he is "not sorry" for allowing Lionel Messi to leave the club for Paris Saint Germain.
Messi departed Camp Nou in the summer of 2021 when his contract with the Spanish club ran out after 16 seasons.
The Argentine had agreed to take a 50 per cent pay cut to stay but the deal fell through due to La Liga’s financial rules on player registration and he left for France where he will reportedly earn a staggering £82m salary across three seasons at PSG until 2023.
Barcelona appeared to have struggled on the pitch in Messi's absence, crashing out of the Champions League in the group stage for the first time in over 20 years.
However, after the drop to the Europa League, that Catalans' employment of former midfielder, Xavi Hernandes, has lightened the environment around the club that has now moved into the top four on the La Liga standings.
Laporta, in a recent interview with the club’s TV channel to mark one year since he returned to the Camp Nou as president, described Messi's exit as "the saddest and most painful decision.
"I would never have wanted to make it at all, but I’m not sorry. We had to put the institution above everyone else, even ahead of coaches and the best player in the world. And we had to do it. Because the situation we inherited is what it was.
"Those of us who love Barça know that history continues and with work and well-thought-out decisions, we can continue on the path of success."