Jose Mourinho: Tottenham could not have signed Messi because we respect FFP
He can't resist a dig, can he?
Jose Mourinho has said Tottenham could not have signed Lionel Messi even if they wanted to because they "respect financial fair play".
In an exclusive interview with JOE, the Tottenham manager discussed Lionel Messi's fight to leave Barcelona, Amazon's All or Nothing documentary and what new signing Joe Hart will bring to his squad.
Asked whether he had any interest in signing Messi, Mourinho explained: "We respect Financial Fair Play at Tottenham. He can only go to a team that doesn't respect Financial Fair Play, so it's not Tottenham, for sure."
"Messi could only go to a team that doesn't respect Financial Fair Play, so not Tottenham for sure."
In an exclusive interview, Spurs boss José Mourinho talks Messi, All or Nothing and Joe Hart. pic.twitter.com/1IGCenMsja
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) September 9, 2020
Manchester City, who recently successfully appealed against a European ban from UEFA for FFP breaches, were expected to sign Messi this summer before the player admitted defeat in his battle with the club's hierarchy over his release clause.
Messi claimed he was entitled to leave for free but club president Josep Maria Bartomeu went back on his word. The club argued that such a clause in his contract was no longer valid after Messi missed the window to activate it, and that he would only be sold for his €700m release clause despite only having a year left on his contract at the Camp Nou.
In the end, Messi's only option would have been to take the only club he has ever played for to the courts, with no guarantee of success. Unable to bring himself to do that, he explained that he would be staying at Barcelona for the last year of his contract.
Next summer, he will be available on a free. Will Mourinho be more tempted then, with no FFP restrictions in the way? Only time will tell. If so, he will certainly face serious competition from the powerhouses of the game, most notably Manchester City and Pep Guardiola.