Barcelona presidential candidate, Joan Laporta has once again opened up on his plans to ensure that club talisman, Lionel Messi remains at the Nou Camp for the foreseeable future, revealing that, “We want him to smile again”.
Messi shocked the footballing world last summer when he handed in a transfer request to leave Barcelona only to reverse his decision after both the club management and LaLiga authorities reiterated that he would only be able to leave if a club would meet his €700million release clause.
However, the 33-year-old’s future at the club remains uncertain considering that his contract with Barcelona expires at the end of the season, with the player yet to agree to new terms with them. This means that Messi could leave the Catalan outfit for free if he does decide to leave for greener pastures in the summer.
“For [Messi] to stay, he has to be convinced that Barcelona he will continue to win. We Catalans have to stand by the team again. I think one of the keys to [Messi] staying is for him to feel loved again. We want him to smile again. If that happens, we can aspire to everything again,” Laporta said to Marca.
The next few weeks may just prove to be crucial when it comes to Messi’s future, considering that Barcelona face important games in LaLiga and Champions League – with the player himself expected to meet with the new president after the elections on March 7 for talks.