Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has made claims that the club have repeatedly lied to Lionel Messi, but he does not think the Argentina international will be playing his football elsewhere next season.
Laporta was the Barca president between 2003 and 2010 and is running for re-election to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned in October.
If he is elected, one of Laporta’s first tasks will be to get Messi, who equaled Pele’s scoring record for a single club with his 643rd Barca goal against Valencia on Saturday, to extend his stay at Camp Nou.
Messi’s Barcelona deal expires on June 30 2021 and he is allowed to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with other clubs from January.
“I am sure Messi wants to continue at Barca,” Laporta said in an exclusive interview with ESPN.
“It will depend on the proposal that the new president makes him. He needs to see that there is a competitive team to reignite the love story Barca had with the Champions League but which has been on hold in recent years.
“The club have repeatedly lied to him and, on top of that, things haven’t gone as everyone wanted. He is at a point in his career where he still wants to be successful and win titles,” he said.
“He cannot keep accepting that other teams win the Champions League and Barca, with Lionel, the best player in the history of the game, do not have a team competitive enough to be able to win it,” added Laporta.
After August’s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich, Messi told Barca he wanted to move on after 20 years at the club. He eventually ended up staying after Bartomeu, the president at the time, refused to let him leave.
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By Ofhani Munyai