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Messi told he ‘cannot leave Barca’

The new president of Barcelona Joan Laporta has issued a Messi stay plea. The new chief takes over at a critical time for the Catalans, with their captain’s future a burning question at the club.

Laporta made a direct plea to Lionel Messi to stay at Camp Nou as he celebrated his inauguration at the Blaugrana helm. Laporta was sworn into office on Wednesday after winning club elections in a landslide, eleven years after leaving the post for the first time in 2010. And predictably, the Argentine featured prominently in his opening speech to members at a time when his future at Barcelona is less than clear.

Laporta and Messi, who were both part of Barca’s golden age in the first decade of the twenty-first century, were pictured embracing prior to the new president’s speech. And a significant part of the address was aimed directly at the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who last summer demanded predecessor Josep Bartomeu let him leave.

Laporta in his speech indicated when the pandemic is over an increase in revenue will return, that will be fixed. “There will be strong leadership, because
I am well-accompanied. We will make decisions to defend the club,” Laporta noted.

The question is will Messi stay or go with Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain considered to be the front-runners for his signature. But recent speculation suggests that there is still a chance he could stay put, with the prospect of City star and Messi’s close friend Sergio Aguero thought by some, including ex-Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta, to be key in his final decision.

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