Barcelona presidential candidate claims Lionel Messi wants to STAY

Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta claims Lionel Messi wants to STAY at the Nou Camp beyond this season after failing to push through a move last summer… as he insists star is worth his huge £492MILLION contract after details were leaked

  • Joan Laporta is favourite to be elected as Barcelona’s president next month
  • He believes Lionel Messi wants to stay at the club beyond the end of the season
  • Laporta also insisted Messi is not responsible for Barcelona’s dire financial state
  • The 58-year-old was previously the club’s president between 2003 and 2010

The favourite to win the Barcelona presidential elections next month says he believes Lionel Messi is leaning towards staying at the club beyond the summer.

Joan Laporta also told RAC1 that he had sent a message to Messi telling him not to be concerned by stories blaming his £492m contract for the financial meltdown at the club.

‘I have indications that he feels good at Barcelona and that he wants to stay here,’ said Laporta, who presided over Messi’s bursting onto the scene during his first spell as president.

Joan Laporta believes Lionel Messi wants to stay at Barcelona beyond the end of the season

Laporta was president of the club between 2003 and 2010 and is favourite to be elected again

Laporta, who is favourite to be become Barcelona’s new president on March 7, said: ‘Messi generates more revenue than the money he costs. We have carried out a study that shows that a third of what the club makes comes from him.

‘It’s not Messi who has ruined the club, it’s the last board who lost their financial discipline back in 2015 and then lost their way after selling Neymar in 2017.’

Laporta said he had sent Messi a message telling him not to worry about the El Mundo story at the weekend, which detailed his contract with Barcelona under a banner headline suggesting he was the ruin of the club.

The presidential candidate insisted Messi is not responsible for Barcelona’s financial situation 

He added: ‘It’s also not true that he runs the club. Messi just wants the club to have a good project. It’s not economic it’s about emotion. It’s all that he has given this club.

‘Eight out of ten shirts we sell are his. And seeing Messi at Barcelona frightens rivals. You cannot put a price on the sporting and emotional returns we get from him.

‘We have been able to turn our situation around regarding the trophies we have won compared with our rivals. That is thanks to Leo. Without him we would not have been able to win as much.

‘It’s clear that we have to do everything we can in economic and sporting terms to make sure he stays. We can’t be focused on him leaving; we have to focus on him staying.’

Laporta said there are only five people at Barcelona who have Messi’s contract in their custody

Laporta was also asked about the leaking of Messi’s contract. ‘What my suspicions are does not matter,’ he said. ‘What is clear is that there was a leak. If I win the election I will try to find out who is responsible.

‘I will ring Javier Tebas (head of La Liga) to see if he knows anything. There are only five people [at Barcelona] who have this contract in their custody: the president, the director general, the sporting director, the club’s legal advisers and human resources.’

Asked what he would do if Messi told him he was determined to leave, Laporta replied: ‘I would ask him to reconsider. I would tell him that money is no guarantee of winning things. If Messi stays we can build a team around him.’

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