Barcelona presidential frontrunner Laporta discusses Neymar and Messi's renewal
Joan Laporta suggested that, if elected, he would do everything in his power to convince Lionel Messi to stay, but recognised it would not be an easy task.
The man who could possibly be Barcelona’s next president, Joan Laporta has spoken about the current situation regarding Lionel Messi in an interview on Catalunya Radio this Thursday morning.
Messi’s Barcelona contract ends in June and fears at Camp Nou are that he could walk away from the club in the summer after his failed attempt to join Manchester City in August – a move which was blocked by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who was forced to resign in October.
City favourites to land Messi
With former Blaugrana coach Pep Guardiola having recently signed a new deal at City, the Premier League giants remain the favourites to land the Barcelona star should he choose to leave Camp Nou.
However, one of the other possible candidates is PSG, where his former team mate Neymar has suggested the pair could be reunited next year. Although, the Brazilian did not make it clear whether he was referring to a reunion at PSG or Barcelona.
"What I want most is to play with Messi again,” said Neymar on Wednesday. "I want to play with him. I'll let him play in my position if he wants! Next year, we have to play together, for sure."
Laporta on Neymar's words
Neymar’s words were inevitably going to be a topic of discussion put to Laporta, who was asked if had heard the former Barcelona player’s comments and about the possibilty of engineering his return to Camp Nou.
“Yes, and I have things to say,” said Laporta, a former president of Barcelona who this week officially announced himself as a candidate for the club’s presidential elections in January.
“But based on my experience I will not say anything that could destabilize the team. It is normal for him to say this because they are friends.”
Laporta on Messi's renewal
Laporta is understood to have a good relationship with Messi, which could be a decisive factor in the club’s efforts to keep the beloved captain at Camp Nou. While Laporta suggested that, if elected, he would do everything in his power to convince Messi to stay, he recognised it would not be an easy task.
“I speak with him regularly, we have contact, but I haven't talked to him for a long time. To talk about his renewal, I need to have the authority of the presidency to make him a proposal that I can fulfil,” said Laporta.
“He knows that whatever I promise him, I will keep. Messi makes a difference both financially and sporting-wise… Leo loves Barça and would help the club. We will make him imaginative proposals. I trust he will wait for a new president [to be installed] before he decides his future.”
Asked about the possibility of a scenario in which Messi leaves the club, Laporta responded: “Barça would survive, but it is better that he stays, although it will not be easy. It will not be a matter of money; it will be a matter of love.”