Lionel Messi’s future seems to have been a continued source of speculation since his incredible fall-out with Barcelona in the summer.
The unthinkable, that the Argentinian would leave the club where he’d spent all of his professional career, almost became a reality, and only Josep Maria Bartomeu’s pig-headedness in negotiations stopped Messi from walking out.
Some might argue it was the only good thing the ex-president ever did, for it at least gives the new president, once they’re elected at the end of January, a fighting chance of keeping Barca’s captain longer than the end of his contract, which expires at the end of this season.
Joan Laporta, president at the club between 2003 and 2010, has thrown his hat into the ring again, and has set out why he hopes Messi can be persuaded to stay.
“A team like Barcelona needs team spirit in the dressing room. I have been president of Barcelona and I don’t want to destabilise a team in a delicate situation.
“Leo wants Barcelona. What I want is to return his happiness. It’s not only a question of money. You also have to create a competitive team. Leo has been deceived and that diminishes [his happiness] a lot. He’s a winner and he cannot bear to see others lift the Champions League.
“The last time I spoke with him was in October. I’m very grateful to him for everything he’s done for Barcelona. I’ve known him since he was 16 years old and he is an extraordinary person. There is a mutual appreciation and respect. We must be inside the club to make him an imaginative and credible proposal.”
If Laporta can persuade the Barcelona membership that he’ll be able to keep Messi until the end of his career, that’s a hell of a vote winner.
So much rests on the outcome of the January 24 elections.