Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol discussed about Lionel Messi's controversial transfer saga this summer at an event in Milan. The Blaugrana skipper pushed for a move away from Barcelona amidst unrest at the club.
Despite his wish to leave Catalunya, both Barcelona and LaLiga Santander intervened and insisted that Messi's staggering €700m release clause was still active, despite the Argentine's camp claiming that it expired.
Later on, Messi blasted the hierarchy for a lack of ambition and planning in an explosive interview, during which he confirmed that he is set to continue at the Nou Camp.
Puyol talks about Messi's wish to leave Barcelona
Speaking on his former teammate's summer transfer saga at an event in Milan, Carles Puyol said that he personally "didn’t want Messi to leave, but it’s football". The former Spain international explained;
"In the end, he [Leo Messi] decided to stay, [and] he said recently that he is motivated - that he wants to [win] and hopefully he can stay with us for many years. It is a huge asset for La Liga, he is one of the best in the world."
Puyol joked about Iker Casillas, who was with him at the event, being happy with the prospect of Messi departing from Barcelona.
"Perhaps Iker [Casillas] would have liked a Barcelona without Messi."
The former Barcelona skipper also revealed that he came close to leaving the club on a few occasions, particularly to play with his 'idol' Paolo Maldini at AC Milan. However, the ex-La Furia Roja legend stated that he has no regrets about remaining at Barcelona. Puyol expressed;
"I had the pride of playing at Barcelona, it's something I have inside. The circumstances were favourable, the club always counted on me."
The 42-year-old continued,
"In 2014, I had knee problems and quit. But I was in the first team for 15 years. I received offers from other teams, Italian and English. I have never hidden that I would have liked to play at Milan, [and] play with Paolo Maldini, who to me is an idol. Milan was in a good moment then, but I am very happy to have stayed in Barcelona."
Lastly, the World Cup-winning defender spoke about his favourite Barcelona match during his time at the club. Despite having a catalogue of incredible results to choose from, his answer did not particularly come as a surprise — he picked Barcelona's 6-2 drubbing of Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
"It [2008/09] was our first year with Pep Guardiola. We started La Liga very well, but then [Real] Madrid started to come back. Three games were remaining, we were four points short and winning that match was the decider. But I also remember the previous year, when we had to make the guard of honour for Madrid. I wanted that match to end soon, we lost 4-1, and they were able to score more."
Puyol is currently a football agent and runs his agency along with former Spain midfielder Ivan de la Peña.
Published 12 Oct 2020, 22:29 IST