Ahead of Barcelona FC’s presidential elections, one of the candidates Joan Laporta has warned the club’s members that Lionel Messi will leave Camp Nou if he is not elected.
Laporta has emerged as a favorite to win and go on a second spell in charge of the La Liga giants ahead of the elections to replace Josep Bartomeu which hold on Sunday.
The future of Lionel Messi is one of the major concerns at the club and his contract will expire in the summer. It can be recalled that Messi was close to an exit last year but agreed to stay for another season.
Meanwhile, Laporta has continued to promise that he will do everything possible to ensure that Messi stays put at Camp Nou on the campaign trail and has now warned the members before they cast their votes.
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‘I have a great relationship with Leo [Messi] and he will consider whatever proposal I make,’ Laporta said in the course of a TV debate on Catalonian channel RAC1 on Tuesday with rivals Toni Freixa and Victor Font.
‘If I don’t win, I am sure that Leo will not stay at Barcelona.
‘Messi will weigh up the offer we make him. I’m convinced that if the other candidates win, Messi will not remain at Barcelona. He wasn’t happy during Freixa’s time on the board.’
It can be recalled that Messi was close to a departure after the 8:2 humiliation by Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League as he seemed disillusioned with life at the club both on and off the pitch.
However, Barca blocked his move by demanding that a gargantuan £629million release clause be paid out, forcing the Argentine to threaten legal action.
It was recently revealed that Messi’s current contract is worth a whopping £492million. The club are also facing financial challenges and have been asked to reduce spending on wage this week.
However, Laporta, who was the president of the club between 2003 and 2010 insists that Messi is not guided by money and is hopeful that he will agree to his offer to renew his contract at the club
‘He’s not guided just by money,’ Laporta added.
‘He wants a competitive team to win.
‘I’m sure he’ll listen to my offer, just as I am [sure] that if someone else wins he will leave.’