Lionel Messi has been ‘repeatedly’ lied to by Barcelona, but won’t leave Spain if he gets the right offer, the favorite to be the club’s next president says

Messi

  • FC Barcelona has "repeatedly lied" to Lionel Messi over the years.
  • That's according to former and potential next president Joan Laporta, or also believes he is the only man who can convince the Argentine to stay at the Camp Nou.
  • Laporta served as Barcelona's president between 2003 and 2010, and is running for re-election next month.
  • "I am sure Messi wants to continue at Barca," Laporta told ESPN. "The priority is to make a proposal to Lionel that convinces him to stay. I hope I arrive in time. And I have an advantage: Messi's trust."
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One of the top candidates to be FC Barcelona's next president, Joan Laporta, says the club has "repeatedly lied" to Lionel Messi over the years, but that he still believes he can convince the Argentine to stay at the Camp Nou.

Laporta previously served as Barcelona's president between 2003 and 2010 and is running for re-election on January 24, when the club will appoint a successor to Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned in October.

Who wins the election next month is likely to hang heavily on who is most likely to be able to persuade Messi to stay at the club following his decision to hand in a transfer request during the summer.

Though the 33-year-old ultimately stayed put for the current season, his contract expires next summer meaning he is free to talk to other clubs from the start of January.

While Messi could leave, Laporta doesn't believe he wants to, and will only leave if he isn't treated right.

"I am sure Messi wants to continue at Barca," Laporta told 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."

Laporta didn't provide any specific examples of the "lies" he mentioned.

"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.

"I don't see Messi in a shirt that isn't Barca's. The story between him and the club is so beautiful that the incoming president is obliged to make sure it continues. I don't see him playing for any other club. I see him in the Barca shirt."

Laporta added that believes he has an advantage over the other presidential candidates when it comes to convincing Messi to stay.

"Along with turning around the club's financial situation, the priority is to make a proposal to Lionel that convinces him to stay. I hope I arrive in time. And I have an advantage: Messi's trust.

"He knows the offer I make will be real and I will fulfill it. I think that will help a lot and is an advantage over the other candidates."

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