‘Leo has been cheated’: Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta slams club in rallying cry to ensure Messi remains at the Nou Camp if he is re-elected and insists talisman wants ‘a squad that brings back the joy’
- Joan Laporta is bidding to return as the president of crisis-hit Barcelona
- Laporta is building his campaign on a pledge to hopefully retain Lionel Messi
- The 58-year-old says Messi has been ‘cheated’ and hurt by the lack of success
- Laporta suggests a new squad would be built around the Argentine’s wishes
Laporta is to stand in the upcoming elections with hope of replacing the departed Josep Maria Bartomeu, and his campaign appears to be built around a pledge to get Messi to stay.
Just this summer the living football legend notified Barca via burofax that he wished to walk away from the club and embrace a new challenge, only to be told a deadline for a such a request had elapsed.
Joan Laporta is bidding to re-take control at Barcelona and is focusing strongly on Lionel Messi
Laporta says Messi has been ‘cheated’ by the club and he now wants to put things right
Speculation remains rife that Messi will leave the Nou Camp at the end of the season, though Laporta has dropped hints that suggest otherwise.
‘Leo wants Barcelona,’ Laporta told Radio MARCA and COPE on Friday when asked about Messi.
‘What I want is to give him back his happiness. It’s not just a question of money, you have to create a competitive team.
Messi was a broken man when Bayern Munich hammered Barca and asked to leave the club
‘Leo has been cheated and that is a big loss. He’s a winner and can’t stand to see other teams lift the Champions League.’
The 58-year-old then went on to suggest that a future squad would be built around the wishes of Messi, in order for the ‘joy’ to return to both the talisman and the club itself.
Laporta added: ‘Leo wants to have a squad that brings back the joy.
‘A team like Barcelona needs team spirit in a dressing room. I’ve been president of Barcelona and I don’t want to destabilise a team in a delicate situation.’
Barca currently face one of the biggest crisis in their history, with the club crippled by its enormous wage bill and profits being drained away as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Spanish giants Barcelona are in financial turmoil amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
Barca’s interim president Carles Tusquets has admitted he would have sold Messi last summer
There remains talk in some quarters that allowing Messi to depart at the end of the season would help rejuvenate the club financially, with his weekly earnings around the £1million mark finally off the books.
Current interim president Carles Tusquets this week made the shock omission that he would have sold Messi in the summer, purely due to it being ‘desirable economically speaking’ for the club.
Tusquets told RAC1: ‘Economically speaking, I would have sold Messi in the summer.
‘It would have been desirable for the money you would’ve received and the money you would’ve saved. La Liga requires wage limits.’
In October, Barcelona released a grim set of economic figures, showing a loss of £88m in the financial year, while the club’s net debt had more than doubled to £440m amid the pandemic.