Lionel Messi, the FC Barcelona captain has been the centre point of campaign by the three presidential candidates of the troubled club.
According to Spanish publication, Tribuna, two of the candidates, Joan Laporta and Victor Font believe that Messi’s demand for a promising sporting project must be achieved to keep him. The third candidate, Freixa is hopeful that Messi can understand the club’s financial situation and agree a new deal that is suited for all parties.
As part of BBC, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague spoke to Victor Font, Joan Laporta and Toni Freixa to discuss how they intend on keeping Lionel Messi beyond the summer, with his Barcelona contract expiring in a few months. Here’s what they said.
“We will make him an offer that is economically interesting. I know Messi is not thinking just about money. He needs to know Barcelona can offer him the opportunity to play in a side that is competitive enough to be winning tournaments like the Champions League again.“This is my priority and I will do the very best so we can to continue with the next chapter of the love affair.”
“For us the relationship with Messi is strategic both in the short and medium term, because we obviously believe keeping Messi is key.
“Having the best player in the world and the best in history in your team is a gift so we will do everything we can to retain him. But also from an institutional perspective it is important to find a way to keep this association between us even at the time Messi retires.
“Messi himself has been telling us that these two objectives can be achieved because, despite the events that happened last summer, he has always said he would love to retire at Barcelona and he has even told us what he needs for this to happen, which is a competitive sports project.
“He has even said that in the long term he would like to be associated with the club and he wants to live here in Barcelona with his family so I believe we have all the ingredients to make it happen. We will have to be creative.”
“Messi is the best player in the history of football and we would be proud for him to stay with us for the rest of his career.
“However, we know that his contract finishes at the end of the season so we need to be able to offer him the framework of a good deal, a good atmosphere from within the club, and a deal that has economic conditions that are sustainable.
“So we would expect to sit down with him and offer him terms that will make him decide to stay with the club for a long time and we are optimistic we will be able to count on him for the future. We believe he realises the situation at the club so we hope it won’t be difficult to reach an agreement.”
Messi’s contract will expire after the end of the season and he will reportedly wait until the new President is elected before making a decision on his future. With the likes of Manchester City and PSG circling around to sign him, whoever becomes the President will have a huge job on their hands to keep Leo at the club beyond the summer.