Barcelona legend Lionel Messi's future will only be decided by him and no one else can influence his decision, as per Hristo Stoichkov. The Bulgarian, who spent five years at the Nou Camp, believes newly-elected president Joan Laporta will be powerless should the Argentine choose to depart from the club.
Lionel Messi's contract continues to wind down and he will become a free agent in a matter of a few months, allowing him to discuss a free transfer elsewhere. With rumours of a move to Paris Saint-Germain gathering momentum, his future is very much up in the air.
Laporta claimed he will try to do all he can to ensure Lionel Messi remains at Barcelona but Stoichkov does not believe that is possible.
Speaking over the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's future, the former striker explained;
"Nobody is going to be able to convince [Lionel] Messi of anything if he is clear about what to do. I will always support the decision Leo makes, and [Joan] Laporta has done it too. It seems to me that this is what to do with a legend, who has made us laugh and even cry."
The 1994 Ballon d'Or winner added on the matter,
"It is true that Laporta had a brilliant time at Barca. He has made big decisions, like trusting [Pep] Guardiola, and that established a time when great football was played, excellent and mature. But today you don't have Xavi or [Andres] Iniesta or Deco or Ronaldinho or [Samuel] Eto'o or those who made it possible."
"This was a team born to win, and that must be assumed. You have other types of players. You have a generation of the future, but that is not going to give you the maximum of its possibilities from today to tomorrow. And that's what Messi must believe in and Laporta must convince him."
After a relatively slow start to the campaign, Lionel Messi exploded in the league with a staggering 21 goals and seven assists for Barcelona as they look to keep pace with Real Madrid and leaders Atletico Madrid.
Joan Laporta wants two signings to stop Lionel Messi's Barcelona departure
Newly-elected Barcelona president Joan Laporta will do everything in his power to make Lionel Messi stay at Barcelona, and as per reports, that could include making two high-profile signings.
The first is one of Lionel Messi's closest acquaintances on and off the pitch, Sergio Aguero. The two forwards share a superb relationship and have played together for over a decade for Argentina. Aguero is set to become a free agent this summer and is one of the players Laporta hopes can help convince Lionel Messi to remain at the club.
The other is superstar striker Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund. The 20-year-old is one of the most coveted players in world football this summer and is on the wish lists of nearly every top club in the world. Although it would be a mighty expensive operation to bring Haaland to the Nou Camp, Laporta hopes that his signing will help Lionel Messi as it would considerably improve their side.
Barcelona are set to go up against Real Sociedad next after a 4-1 battering of Huesca last time out, with Lionel Messi scoring two stunning goals.