As he welcomed his inauguration as president of Barcelona, Joan Laporta made a direct appeal to Lionel Messi to remain at Camp Nou. Laporta was sworn in as president of the club on Wednesday, 11 years after leaving the post for the first time in 2010. And, unsurprisingly, the Argentine featured heavily in his opening address to guests, even though his future at Barcelona remains uncertain.
Before the new president’s address, Laporta and Messi, who were both parts of Barcelona’s golden period in the first decade of the twenty-first century, were photographed kissing.
And a large portion of the speech was directed squarely at the six-time Ballon d’Or recipient, who requested last summer that predecessor Josep Bartomeu allow him to resign.
“We had the best players in Barcelona history during our first term, but if we were good, it was because we had consistency,” Laporta explained.
“It is Barcelona’s solidarity that provides you with peace, and I encourage everyone in Barcelona to see what they can do for Barca. I’m here to make choices, such as persuading Leo to continue, taking advantage of the fact that he’s here. He is aware of this. You know how much I adore you, and we will go to whatever length to keep you here. You remember you can’t go, Leo.”
“We won’t be able to do it on our own. If our anthem proclaims, we are better together. Perhaps more so in these hard days. We know exactly how to do that. Once the pandemic has passed, our sales will resume.” That will be presented. Since I am well-accompanied, there would be good leadership. We will make a pick. To protect the club, you must live and breathe it, which we do as much as possible.”
Ensure Messi’s stability was high on almost all of the main candidates’ campaign pledges to replace Bartomeu, who stood down at the end of 2020 despite fierce criticism of his presidency, not least over his treatment of Messi.