‘It’s not a question of money… Messi wants Barcelona’ – Laporta
Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has claimed that Lionel Messi does not want to depart the club amid rumours he could make a summer switch to Paris Saint-Germain.
Following the declaration of Neymar that he wants to team up with the Argentine again, there has been fresh speculation the attacker could depart.
Messi’s contract is up at Barcelona in the summer. Their financial issues mean that they will struggle to match the 33-year-old’s current deal. Additionally, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner remains disillusioned with the club, although less so since the departure of president Josep Bartomeu.
The prospect of him leave for nothing in July remains, with PSG now frontrunners ahead of Manchester City.
Laporta, a candidate for a second spell as president at Camp Nou, is hopeful Messi can be talked into staying. He says, however, a stronger team needs to be built.
“Leo wants Barca,” he told Radio Marca of Messi. “What I want is for him to be happy. It’s not just a question of money. You have to create a competitive environment. Leo has been let down.
“The last time I spoke to him was in October. I’m very grateful for everything he has done at Barcelona.”
The Catalan side are presently seventh in La Liga, 10 points off the pace of first place Real Sociedad and nine behind Atletico Madrid in second.
Their form under Ronald Koeman has been disappointing, with a lack of investment in the first team not aiding the Dutchman’s prospects. In the summer, moves for Lyon’s Memphis Depay and Liverpool’s Gini Wijnaldum both failed.
The presidential election, which is slated for 24th January, will play a huge role in determining the future of Messi.
Nevertheless, the club’s financial problems cannot be instantly turned around, making it tough for them to pay Messi what he expects and attract the kind of team mate that will see them competitive among Europe’s elite in the short term.