Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta insists he ‘will do everything possible’ to keep ‘winner’ Lionel Messi at the club… but admits cash-strapped Spanish giants MUST make a ‘competitive sporting offer’ to tempt him to stay
- Lionel Messi’s future still remains the biggest talking point at Barcelona
- Messi almost departed last summer after growing disillusioned with the club
- Manchester City and PSG are two teams circling the Argentine superstar
- But Joan Laporta is desperate for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to stay put
Barcelona presidential hopeful Joan Laporta has once again made his feelings clear over the future of Lionel Messi, insisting he will do everything in his power to keep him at the club.
Messi almost sensationally departed the Nou Camp last summer after growing disillusioned with proceedings both on and off the pitch but Barca blocked his move after demanding his astronomical £629million release clause was paid out.
The Argentine was desperate to leave for free and despite the move failing to materialise, he looks set to finally depart next summer after an illustrious 21 years at the club.
Lionel Messi continues to steal the headlines with his Barcelona future far from certain
But Laporta – who was the president of Barcelona between 2003 and 2010 and is now favourite to take over at Barcelona again – claims he will do ‘everything possible’ to keep the six-time Ballon d’Or winner at the Nou Camp.
‘We will need a competitive sporting offer,’ Laporta told Sky Sport Italia. ‘He’s a winner and he wants to win with Barcelona.
‘I will do everything possible, there are many who want him and we will need an important offer. Money doesn’t guarantee titles.
‘Messi generates more income than expenses, his cost is eight per cent of the total, he generates 30 per cent of revenue to the club.
‘It’s profitable for Barcelona but the most important thing, which is priceless, is to ask a child who is the best in the world. They say Messi, immediately.’
Joan Laporta is desperate for ‘winner’ Messi to stay with PSG and Manchester City circling
Despite Laporta’s latest words on Messi – who is being pursued closely by Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City – it will be extremely difficult for Barca to tempt him to stay given their financial woes.
Messi’s latest Barca contract – which he signed back in 2016 – was recently leaked to the public and it is worth a staggering £492million.
And if Barca are so desperate to keep him, they will surely have to match this deal or more when his contract finally expires in the summer.
But after the Spanish giants recently published their financial report for the 2019-20 season, which revealed a gross debt of €1.2billion (£1bn), it would come as a surprise if they were to afford a huge new deal for Messi.
Messi and Barcelona were humiliated 4-1 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League
Laporta will have to oversee a complete overhaul at Barcelona both on and off the pitch if he becomes president.
The club’s elections will now be held on March 7 after they were originally delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Laporta is now in a race for Barcelona presidency alongside Victor Font and Toni Freixa.
While their off-pitch struggles have been well-documented, on the field their era of dominance appears to be coming to an end.
Barca were once again humiliated in the Champions League on Tuesday, losing 4-1 at home to PSG in the first-leg of their last-16 tie while they also sit nine points behind Atletico Madrid at the top of LaLiga.
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