Barcelona’s prospective new president Joan Laporta insists he will do “everything possible” to persuade Lionel Messi to stay at the club.
Laporta is one of the leading candidates to succeed Josep Maria Bartomeu when the next elections are held on March 7, and he believes Messi needs to be offered a plan that will see Barca win the biggest prizes again, if he is to sign a new deal.
Barca were thrashed 4-1 by Paris Saint-Germain, who along with Manchester City want to sign Messi in the summer when he will become a free agent, in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday night – and Laporta believes for Messi it is “not about money”.
“I will do everything possible for Messi to stay,” he told Sky in Italy.
“Messi should be valued with the affection he deserved and with a suitable financial package, but it’s not about money. He needs a winning sporting proposal, Leo wants to win again with Barcelona.
“I know him well, I have a good personal relationship with him. He is not someone that is here for the money. He will need a competitive sporting offer because he’s a winner.”
Messi pledged to remain with Barca until the end of the season after a protracted battle with the board last summer, in which he formally requested to be released from his contract with a year to spare.
City and PSG remain the most credible suitors for him if he is to leave Barca at the end of the season, with a long-term aim to eventually finish his career in Major League Soccer.
Along with Victor Fonte, Laporta is considered one of the favourites to take over as Barca president next month.