The prospective new president of Barcelona, Joan Laporta, insists that he will do “everything possible” to convince Lionel Messi to remain at the club.
Laporta is one of the leading candidates to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu in the forthcoming March 7 elections, and he insists that a strategy that will see Barca win the biggest prizes again should Messi sign a new contract needs to be presented to him.
Paris Saint-Germain, who along with Manchester City wants to sign Messi in the summer when he becomes a free agent, thrashed Barca 4-1 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match on Tuesday night – and Laporta claims it’s not about money for Messi.
“I will do everything possible for Messi to stay,” he told Sky in Italy.
With the love he deserved and with a suitable financial package, Messi should be respected, but it’s not about money. He needs the idea of a winning sport, Leo wants to win with Barcelona again.
I know him well and I have a good friendship with him personally. He’s not someone who’s for the money here. Since he is a champion, he would need a competitive sporting bid.
After a protracted fight with the board last summer, Messi vowed to stay with Barca until the end of the season in which he officially asked to be released from his contract with a year to spare.
If he is to leave Barca at the end of the season, City and PSG remain the most credible suitors for him, with a long-term target of finally finishing his career in Major League Soccer.
Laporta is considered one of the favorites to take over as Barca president next month, along with Victor Fonte.