BARCELONA

Messi situation at Barça 'reversible', says Laporta

Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta is sure Lionel Messi can be convinced to remain at Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi situation at Barcelona is 'reversible', insists presidential hopeful Laporta

Lionel Messi's situation at Barcelona is "reversible", according to presidential hopeful Joan Laporta.

Messi sent shockwaves through the world of football when he asked to leave Camp Nou ahead of the 2020-21 season but after a lengthy transfer wrangle ultimately ended up staying put.

With the Argentine out of contract at the end of the campaign, the 33-year-old's long-term future is still shrouded in doubt, although the end of the reign of Josep Maria Bartomeu – with whom he has had a fraught relationship – as president may convince the superstar forward to stay.

One potential issue is the financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with presidential hopeful Toni Freixa last month saying Messi would have to reduce the terms of his bumper contract.

Hopeful for Messi's future

Laporta, who is hoping to return to a position he served between 2003 and 2010, remains hopeful that Barça's financial difficulties and Messi's future can both be resolved, though.

"They are two things that are the result of poor management. The situation has worsened with COVID, but mismanagement is part of and is the origin of this consequence; having Leo like this," Laporta told AS. 

"The two things are reversible. The situation of the club is reversible and the Leo issue, I hope too. 

"I think the most important thing is that Leo said he will wait for a new president to decide and, therefore, he would be willing to listen to Barça's proposal. 

"They told me they would wait until the end of the season. I like to stay with the positive and I think that is very positive."

Back in 2008, Barça sold Ronaldinho and Deco but Messi was reassured of the club's ambition and his own standing as a crucial member of the team following a meeting with Laporta.

Making proposal to Messi

Asked what his message to Messi would be now, Laporta said such an answer is dependent on him winning the election.

"To answer the question, first I have to be president. To see the possibilities that we have in the club to make a good financial proposal," he added. 

"And then, the sports proposal has to be competitive. Leo does not move for money, he wants Barça. 

"And then, I think what he really wants is to keep winning the Champions League and Leagues. And there is the key to the issue. Make a competitive proposal."