Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has addressed Lionel Messi’s future at the club after their thrashing from Paris Saint-Germain.
Kylian Mbappe put on a show at the Nou Camp, scoring a hat-trick as Barca succumbed to another embarrassing defeat in the Champions League.
Winning the European competition would help persuade Messi to stay at the club, where his contract expires at the end of the season.
The Argentine tried to leave Catalonia last year with Manchester City desperate for his signature but it did not materialise.
Now, his future has become centre-stage once again with Barcelona likely to exit the Champions League very soon.
One of the issues was the political situation at the Nou Camp – though controversial president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned last year.
Elections are set to be held and one of the candidates, Laporta, has promised to do his best to keep Messi.
He told Sky Italia: “Messi wants to win with Barcelona. I’ll do my best to keep him, there are some clubs really interested in signing him.
“But Leo wants to win titles, not just to earn money. He’s not a ‘problem’ for Barca, Messi is 30 per cent of the club’s profit.”
Laporta is synonymous with much of Barcelona’s biggest successes this turn of the millennium, serving as president from 2003 to 2010.
He infamously failed to bring in David Beckham as one of his presidential promises – though his plan B target, Ronaldinho, did not turn out too badly.
The lawyer also oversaw the Pep Guardiola era, which saw an unprecedented amount of trophies flood the club – including the sextuple of 2009.
But keeping Messi at the club could be his best achievement, should Laporta win the presidential elections, with the 33-year-old looking more and more likely to leave.
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Realistically only two clubs can afford his wages – City and PSG – and Neymar is desperate to work with his old chum again.
Mbappe’s own future at the Parc des Princes is a point of contention with Real Madrid strongly linked with the 22-year-old.
And on Tuesday night’s evidence, the Bernabeu would be foolish not to make a move for the World Cup winner.