‘It’s not about convincing Messi’ – Barcelona presidential candidate puts ball firmly in the Argentinian’s court

With elections for a new Barcelona president little more than a month away, candidates will now be positioning themselves and posturing to earn the right to be heard.

That will often mean making the odd controversial statement to shake up the race and guarantee column inches.

In Xavi Vilajoana’s case, that seems to have worked out perfectly.

An outsider in the race to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu, Vilajoana’s opening gambit is to suggest that the club don’t have to do any leg work themselves in order to keep Lionel Messi.

In fact, his press conference on Saturday, cited by MARCA, may well have done him more harm than good.

“He needs to be asked whether he wants to play at the best club in the world or not,” Vilajoana said.

“Players, sporting-wise, reach a point in their career where their role changes. It’s not just him.

“When you get older, you need to make the difference in the big games. There are a lot of roles.

“You need to integrate young players who join into the squad. You need to be a leader and the captain of the club.

“On a sporting level, motivation is vital, especially if you are captain. Motivation comes in to play when you get knocked down.

“We’re seeing right now that when they concede a goal, they don’t mount a comeback and this is a symptom of a lack of motivation. It doesn’t help either that there are no fans, because they give you energy.

“This is why we need to ask him if he wants to play for the best club in the world. It’s not just about convincing him, though – he has to want to do it.

“That desire comes from the player, and if you compliment that with arguments that help him to make a decision, then even better. The first one who should speak is him, Leo Messi.”

Whilst on the face of it he may actually be right, keeping Messi happy has always been a pre-requisite, and that should be the case now more than ever.

The likelihood of the Argentinian making any sort of statement before the new president is known is highly unlikely.

That’s because, as he’s said on numerous previous occasions, he wants Barca to have a competitive side in order for him to remain at the club, and to that end he needs to know the intentions of any new president.

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