After being re-appointed as Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta is determined to keep Lionel Messi at the club having also told manager Ronald Koeman that he has the club’s support.
Club members voted for Laporta’s return after serving as Barca president from 2003 to 2010, the 58-year-old was required to secure a €125m bank guarantee prior to being inaugurated.
Laporta’s top priority will be to handle the situation regarding Messi’s future at the club, who turns 34 in June, the same month that his current contract expires at the end of the season.
Messi who handed in a transfer request last summer, voted in last Sunday’s election where the six-time Ballon d’Or winner was in attendance for Laporta’s election speech at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
“I take the opportunity to say again that I will try to convince Leo (Messi) to stay with us. That is a must-do task, I will do all I can. He knows it.
“Whatever he does will be OK but we will try to make him stay because he is the best player in the history of football.
“And my apologies Leo, for saying this right here and right now, but you know of my love for you, Barca loves you a lot and if this stadium would be full when you play the next game I am sure you wouldn’t be able to leave.”
Laporta will also need to turnaround the club’s financial difficulties as well keeping Messi.
“It is true that the economic situation of the club is the source of pre-occupation for all Barca associates and us as well and that is our priority,” Laporta added as quoted by Sky Sports.
“To turn Barca economically viable again, that is why we have a shock plan we will implement. We know how to do it, it will mean making an effort and working a lot.
“Now that we have the power to make decisions we will try to generate new sources of income. We will try to make the right decisions to reverse the current situation.”
Source: Sky Sports