Barcelona chief Joan Laporta has pledged to do everything in his power to convince the club’s all-time top scorer Lionel Messi to stay after being officially sworn in as the club’s new president on Wednesday.
Laporta’s pitch to Messi came two days after the Argentine equalled Xavi Hernandez as the club’s highest appearance maker on 767 games, marking the occasion by scoring twice in a 4-1 win against Huesca.
“I’ll do everything I can to make Leo stay because he’s the best player in history,” Laporta said in his speech at the Camp Nou as Messi watched on.
“You know I love you, you know Barca loves you and if this stadium was full when you played, you wouldn’t want to leave. Whatever you decide is fine in the end, but we’ll try.”
Laporta, who presided over one of Barca’s most memorable periods between 2003 and 2010, which included Messi’s rise from the youth ranks to become their best player ever, won the election on March 7 with 54 percent of members’ votes.
“It’s our priority to make the club sustainable economically and we have an immediate plan to do that. But we’re not scared by the situation and if we have to make big decisions in Barca’s interest then we will,” he added.
Barca were knocked out of the Uefa Champions League by Paris St Germain last week but Laporta urged the players to try to achieve a domestic double.
They trail LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid by four points with 11 games to go and face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final next month.
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By FARPost Reporter