UK Football

Barcelona president confident of Messi stay

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed that he is ‘convinced’ Lionel Messi will sign a new contract at the club to stay beyond this season.

Laporta was re-elected for a second spell as club president last month after predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu was effectively removed from his position after a falling out with other members of the club’s board over Messi’s future.

Joan Laporta, Lionel Messi
Messi was present when Laporta was inaugurated as club president again | David Ramos/Getty Images

The Argentine forward, who is widely regarded as the club’s greatest ever player, tried to engineer an abrupt exit from the club last summer, amid immense frustration at the direction the club was going in.

He made public his intention to leave the club on a free transfer, citing a clause in his contract that allowed him to walk away for free. But Barcelona argued that Messi had missed the deadline allowing him to do so, and he opted against legal proceedings – instead being widely expected to play out the season before leaving..

However, with Bartomeu out of the picture and the club’s form steadily improving under Ronald Koeman – fuelled by the emergence of a new crop of young stars – Deportes Cuatro (via ESPN) state that Laporta is now ‘convinced’ that the 33-year-old will stay despite not yet offering him fresh terms.

“Everything is progressing adequately,” Laporta is quoted as saying. “I will do everything within the club’s capabilities to get him to stay. That’s what we’re doing. Messi is motivated. He is an extraordinary person and I am convinced that he will want to continue at Barca.”

Ronald Koeman, Lionel Messi
The team have performed well under Koeman and Messi is reportedly happier to stay | Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Messi’s current contract expires at the end of June and he’ll be free to leave this summer unless Barcelona have managed to appease his concerns. He has featured 39 times in all competitions this season, scoring a healthy 29 goals as well as registering 10 assists.

He may yet bag another La Liga title – though bitter rivals Real Madrid are favourites at this stage – but will have to settle for Copa del Rey success against Athletic Club when it comes to cup glory – Barça having been emphatically knocked out of the Champions League by a Kylian Mbappe-inspired PSG.

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