‘Messi can be convinced, he wants to stay at Barcelona’ – Laporta wants role for Argentine in present and future

Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Champions League 2020-21
A man looking to take in a second spell as president of the Liga giants believes a superstar forward can be tied to fresh terms at Camp Nou

Joan Laporta is confident that Lionel Messi “can be convinced” to sign a new contract, with the Barcelona presidential candidate adamant that the Argentine “wants to stay”.

That was not the case during the summer of 2020, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner pushing for the exits at Camp Nou.

He was prevented from walking out on the final year of his contract, with the 33-year-old revealing to Goal that he would be honouring that agreement.

No fresh terms have been agreed since then, with Messi continuing to run his deal down towards free agency.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are said to be keeping a close eye on events in Catalunya, with two big-spending clubs ready to invest heavily in an all-time great.

Barca, though, are refusing to give up on efforts to get their talismanic captain tied to an extension, with Laporta hoping to take office for a second time and push that agreement through.

He told El Transistor: “Messi can be convinced, I think he wants to stay.

“The conversation I must have with him will be the serious one, when we can offer him something firm.

“The delay to the elections does not benefit Barcelona or the renewal of Leo, who needs a president and a board of directors to renew.”

Laporta’s plan is to get Messi to commit to Barca for the remainder of his remarkable playing career.

Once the day comes for the mercurial South American to hang up his boots, he will then be offered the chance to fill a role behind the scenes at Camp Nou.

“When he stops playing football, Messi will be given the role he feels comfortable in,” Laporta added.

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“But for the time being he wants to continue playing football. And if he wants to have a football experience in America later on, it would be enriching for everyone.”

The next round of presidential elections at Barca has been pushed back from January 24 due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

The Blaugrana hope a revised vote can go ahead on March 7, allowing them to restore a sense of normality to their boardroom and get contract talks opened up again with Messi.