Leo Messi was once again mentioned in Joan Laporta’s interview, this time with ‘Ole’. The candidate to the Barca presidency is clear that the Argentine is not at fault for anything and that he can still stay at the club.
Barcelona elections are just around the corner (7th March) and Joan Laporta once again spoke about the latest situation at Barcelona. In a chat with ‘Ole’, one of the most read newspapers in Argentina, he praised Leo Messi and highlighted everything he had done for the club.
“I’m optimistic even after seeing news which I don’t like because it is false. It’s false that Messi has ruined Barca. Everyone understands that Messi generates more income than what he costs. This is very important because the intention of the news was heading in another direction, in the opposite one. Having Messi back for Barca, is huge. It has been able to be proved that he generates a third of the club’s income and costs just 8% of it. On the sporting front, it’s obvious: he has won four Champions Leagues, 10 league titles, three Club World Cups, six Copa del Reys… We had never won so much in history,” Laporta began.
Messi’s contract being leaked was another unexpected setback for the ’10’: “I know he’s hurt and annoyed, the proof is the reaction of his lawyers. Leo can earn respect through his image. Until 2003, we can won 56 titles and Real Madrid 22. Since 2004, it’s 34-22 in Barca’s favour. Furthermore, Messi sets a great example at Barca and to La Masia. A player who has come through the academy and is the best in history. He scares his opponents, he’s priceless… Barcelona fans back Messi.”
“I can’t get my head round the fact that someone doesn’t want Messi to continue. There are people that make a comment because of egos and arrogance. There were people who ended up saying to me that we had to sell Leo. Outrageous and even more so from who it came from. The immense majority want Messi to stay at Barca and for him to keep producing what he does,” Laporta continued.
Now, maintaining a contract like that is a huge challenge given the club’s financial situation: “If we began a new era with him, we can make it work and still win titles. When I take over, I have to make an audit. I have data, I want to leave a reassuring message; this is reversible, this crisis will be overcome. Barca are in a delicate situation, we are going to restructure the debt we have. This has a solution: the plan is to renew Messi in the short term, but the audit will tell us everything.”
Several digs at PSG
“I’m convinced Messi wants to stay.” Because of the affection and mutual respect we have for each other. Leo has always told me it. I want to keep having that credibility. Messi is not moved by money, he has already had many offers. Leo is a professional and he wants to feel valued. He has felt that with me, he wants to keep on winning, enjoying his life, a suitable sporting proposal…”
“I’m worried about PSG. We are in a situation with a lack of governance and that makes it easier for clubs to disrespect Barcelona. Who doesn’t want Messi? Everyone wants him. I can’t accept that an elite club says that. Barca have to be respected,” he insisted, conscious of the continuous mentions of the Argentine from Paris.
Laporta hopes he continues, but knows he is hurt: “I’ve been told that now he’s comfortable on the pitch, I know his inner cicrcle. Nobody likes to make sudden changes in life, going to live in another country. It’s an obligation of the new president that he keeps Messi happy. My hair stood on end when I saw that he smiled after scoring from a free-kick against Athletic Bilbao. He must feel loved again. He’s been deceived a lot, I’m convinced that he’s keen to stay and that he is going to wait for our proposal. Other clubs take of advantage of this, they base it all on money. Money doesn’t guarantee you trophies. The example is a club which make these offers, lots of money and they haven’t won the Champions League…”
How to persuade Messi to stay and Suarez’s departure
To persuade Messi, you have to do it through a sporting proposal. He’s not a player that says he wants a footballer in particular. He wants to keep on enjoying, he knows if the team are competitive enough to see what they can win. He must see himself with a chance. When fans return, it’s going to be magnificent for Leo. I think it’s highly likely he will stay.”
Laporta said Luis Suarez’s sale was a mistake: “It has hurt that he has gone to a competitor in Atletico Madrid. It’s inexplicable that Luis goes to a rival. Leo is a winner, no player is eternal, it’s knows that he has a friendship with win, but if you ask him, the manner of departure is important. Luis was the third highest goalscorer for the club, you can’t tell him over the phone. Leo notes that, he senses it.
“If we’re going to lose a striker in Suarez, he should go to the USA, not stay in La Liga. What’s more, he’s scoring goals. Leo calls for respect, knowledge, professionalism. Neymar has left and Leo has to continued to be the best,” Laporta concluded.