Valencia president Chan Lay Hoon believes forward Paco Alcacer had his heart set on Barcelona before his move to the LaLiga champions.
Alcacer, 23, completed a move to Barca on Tuesday, leaving his boyhood club in a deal that cost an initial EUR30million.
Chan was saddened by Alcacer's decision to leave the Mestalla, but said Valencia had little choice but to allow the Spain international to depart.
"He was an icon, a symbol and had been with us since he was 11," she said.
"But if someone who is an icon has his heart elsewhere, it makes no sense to turn them into an icon."
Alcacer scored 13 league goals for Valencia last season and 11 in 2014-15, leading to interest from elsewhere.
Chan said the club's intention was to keep Alcacer, who has signed a five-year deal with Barca.
"It was always the club's decision for him not to leave," she said.
"If we had wanted to sell, we would have done it three weeks earlier and not made the declaration of not wanting to sell."
Alcacer was one of numerous departures at Valencia, who also lost the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Andre Gomes.
Pako Ayestaran's team have made a slow start to the LaLiga campaign having taken no points from their opening two games to leave them bottom of the table.