Newly-elected Barcelona president Joan Laporta says he is “convinced” Lionel Messi wants to stay in Catalonia and says he will speak be speaking to the superstar.
Laporta, who was in charge at the Camp Nou between 2003 and 2010, won in a landslide vote on Sunday. The 58-year-old polled 54% of the vote, with Victor Font second with 30% and Toni Freixa third.
Barcelona revealed 55,611 of its 109,531 eligible members voted in the election, which was postponed from January because of coronavirus restrictions.
Already Laporta says he has received a message of congratulations from Messi and has vowed to him at the club.
Speaking to Catalunya Radio on Monday morning, Laporta said: “It was very nice to see Messi going to vote. It is yet more proof that he loves Barca.
“I am convinced that he wants to stay. And, yes, he has already congratulated me for winning the election. He also won yesterday. We will soon have a quiet talk and decide his future.”
Immediately after the vote on Sunday night, Laporta told RAC1 : “I will be calling Lionel Messi. Will I convince Leo to stay? It will depend on him. Barca enjoyed great success during Laporta’s first presidency (Picture: Getty)
“I will do what I can, within the economic possibilities of the club, to make him stay at Barca.”
PSG hope for Messi
Messi’s contract at Barca expires at the end of the current campaign. Manchester City were linked with the 33-year-old last summer, before the star came out to quickly pledge his immediate future to Barca.
Not many clubs could afford his wages. PSG are though one of the few clubs in world football who could afford him.
It means there’s a chance Messi could hook up with his Argentine team-mate Angel Di Maria.
PSG sporting director, Leonardo, has already addressed the possibility. He told France Football (via Goal) recently: “Great players like Messi will always be on PSG’s list. But this is of course not the time to talk about it, or to dream about it.”
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman was quick to condemn Di Maria for suggesting that Messi could join him at the French club next season.