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Lionel Messi wants more than money in Barcelona, and presidential candidate Joan Laporta insists the disgruntled superstar yearns for a competitive team for success.
Messi’s future remains an important issue for LaLiga giants Barça after he submitted a transfer request following a tumultuous 2019-20 season.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was expected to join Premier League Manchester City before opting to remain in Spain, though he has since been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.
Barça interim president Carlos Tusquets said the club should have sold Messi in the last transfer window due to the economic consequences caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
But Laporta, who is running for the presidential elections to be held on January 24 after the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu in October, spoke about Messi.
Well these two look well rested … pic.twitter.com/rPqqTz88qy
FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 4, 2020
“Leo loves Barcelona,” former president Laporta, who led Barça from 2003 to 2010, told Radio Marca and COPE when Messi’s career took off.
“What I want is to return your happiness. It is not just a question of money, you have to create a competitive team.
“Leo has been cheated and that is a great loss. He is a winner and does not support other teams lifting the Champions League.
“The last time I spoke to him was in October. I am very grateful to him for everything he has done for Barcelona. I have known him since I was 16 years old and he is an extraordinary person.
“There is mutual appreciation and respect. We must be inside [the club] to make an imaginative and credible proposal ”.
Leo Phil pic.twitter.com/8u5QqKP9wT
FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 3, 2020
Messi has scored four goals in nine LaLiga games this season, while he has scored seven in all competitions.
“Leo wants to have a squad that brings joy back,” added Laporte.
“A team like Barcelona needs team spirit in a dressing room. “I have been president of Barcelona and I do not want to destabilize a team in a delicate situation.”
After being dethroned by Real Madrid last season and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Ronald Koeman’s Barça is seventh in LaLiga and 10 points behind leader Real Sociedad.
Barça will travel to Cádiz on Saturday.