Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta says Lionel Messi has been ‘repeatedly lied’ to by the club and believes his potential re-election could convince the Argentinian superstar to remain at the Nou Camp
- Joan Laporta is favourite to win the Barcelona presidential election next month
- He was previously president at the club for seven years from 2003 to 2010
- Speculation continues to grow surrounding club legend Lionel Messi’s future
- The Argentine superstar can negotiate a pre-contract agreement in January
- Laporta believes he could be the man to persuade Messi to stay at the club
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed that the Spanish giants have ‘repeatedly lied’ to club legend Lionel Messi.
The Argentinian superstar wanted to leave the club in the summer and though he stayed at the Camp Nou, speculation continues to rage over the 33-year-old’s future at the club.
Messi will be able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with any suitors when the January transfer window opens, with his current deal at the club expiring in the summer.
Lionel Messi has been disgruntled at Barcelona and his contract is set to expire in the summer
President hopeful Joan Laporta believes though that he could be the man to get Messi to stay
Laporta, who was previously president at the club from 2003 to 2010, told ESPN: ‘He needs to see that there is a competitive team to reignite the love story Barca had with the Champions League but which has been on hold in recent years.
‘[The club] have repeatedly lied to him and, on top of that, things haven’t gone as everyone wanted. He is at a point in his career where he still wants to be successful and win titles.
‘He cannot keep accepting that other teams win the Champions League and Barca, with Lionel, the best player in the history of the game, do not have a team competitive enough to be able to win it.’
Laporta is looking to return to the club having announced his candidacy for the next set of presidential elections which are to take place in January.
Messi had been heavily critical of the club’s former president Josep Maria Bartomeuand held him responsible for blocking his exit from the club in the summer.
Laporte however believes he could be the man to ensure that Messi prolongs his days at the Catalonia club, having already gained his full ‘trust’ during his first spell at the club.
Laporta was president at the club between 2003 and 2010 and says he has Messi’s ‘trust’
He said: ‘I don’t see Messi in a shirt that isn’t Barca’s,’ he said. ‘The story between him and the club is so beautiful that the incoming president is obliged to make sure it continues. I don’t see him playing for any other club. I see him in the Barca shirt.
‘Along with turning around the club’s financial situation, the priority is to make a proposal to Lionel that convinces him to stay. I hope I arrive in time. And I have an advantage: Messi’s trust.
‘He knows the offer I make will be real and I will fulfil it. I think that will help a lot and is an advantage over the other candidates.’
Clubs such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly poised to swoop for Messi’s signature when they are allowed to speak to him when the market reopens.
Another man looking to take up the Barcelona candidacy, Emili Rousaud, said that Lionel Messi’s current salary is ‘not affordable’ given the club’s financial state.
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly interested in signing the Barca legend
However he is adamant that the club must find a solution to keep him at the Camp Nou, but believes they may have to reduce his wages to help balance the books.
Rousaud told Spanish newspaper AS: ‘We can’t just cut everywhere, and that’s it because we would become small and we have to think big.
‘The future [of the club] is in his hands, but at the moment Leo’s salary is not affordable.
‘Messi is a winner and if he goes it won’t be to be paid more. Leo Messi is the player who has given most to Barca in their history and what Messi has given is not quantifiable.
Messi had fallen out with prior club president Josep Maria Bartomeu before his resignation
‘We won’t speak with the player until we are in power, but the person that brought him to Barcelona is in this bid, Jose Maria Minguella.’
Reports by the 2020 Deloitte Money League showed that Barcelona had been ranked as the club with the biggest revenues in European football prior to the pandemic.
However, the Spanish giants are now over £700million in debt and boast a whopping £1billion-a-year wage bill.
Messi is contributing significantly to their financial struggles by earning an estimated £500,000-per-week from Barca.
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