An Argentina and Real Madrid legend has described Lionel Messi's FC Barcelona exit as "painful", and claimed that his departure also hurt club rivals Los Blancos.
With Messi's departure from the Blaugrana is still being one of the biggest talking points of the latest transfer window, former Albiceleste star Jorge Valdano has now insisted that his exit from the Camp Nou hurt not only Barca but their rivals too.
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After negotiations over a new deal dragged on for weeks before it was confirmed that the then-LaLiga superstar would in fact be leaving his boyhood club, Messi was quickly snapped up by French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Valdano, himself a former Real manager, sporting director and CEO, has now explained how the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's exit from Spanish top-flight hurt even Los Blancos.
"There's the feeling that Barcelona just didn't have the money to pay Messi," Valdano told Spanish outlet El Pais.
"An illusion was created, and because everything happened so fast it seemed like he'd been kicked out.
"In a game where identity is so important, getting rid of a legend like him isn't just painful, it's inexplicable.
"Him leaving also damages Real Madrid a lot, because teams are also measured in terms of their rivals.
"Simply put, Messi will go down as a footballing genius, but he won't just have belonged to Barcelona, which is quite sad."
Messi eventually made his PSG debut against Stade Reims in the final matchweek before the international break.
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