Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona this summer, according to Joan Laporta, if anyone other than him is chosen as the club’s new president on Sunday.
When Messi’s contract expires in June, he could walk away for free. He hasn’t made up his mind about his future after the end of the season, and he’ll consider the new president’s plan.
Laporta, who served as president of Camp Nou from 2003 to 2010, cautioned that if Victor Font or Toni Freixa are elected this weekend, Barca risks losing their star player.
“I am certain that if someone other than me wins the race, Messi will leave the club,” Laporta said in the most recent debate between the three candidates.
“I have a nice friendship with him, and we have a lot of respect for each other. We’ll make him a bid depending on the situation at the club.” We may not be able to compete financially, but Messi is not a money man. He aspires to reach the pinnacle of his profession.”
When Messi first joined Barca, Laporta was the president, and he told ESPN earlier this year that his friendship with the forward gives him an advantage over Font and Freixa.
His most recent remarks go even further, though Font and Freixa remain hopeful that they can convince Messi to sign a new contract amid interest from PSG and Manchester City.
“Messi has to stay at the club no matter what. Messi is a multi-dimensional player. He’s part of the financial solution for our sporting initiative, which will be led by Xavi [Hernandez]. We’ll give him a lifetime deal,” Font said.
When Freixa said Messi would stay if he was elected, Laporta interjected, saying Messi “wasn’t really happy” with Freixa’s position as a director under the previous board.