Former Real Madrid captain and defender Fernando Hierro has stated his belief that Lionel Messi could remain at Barcelona if future plans align well with him.
''It is going to depend a lot on the elections, and I think it will be good for everyone if he stays, but obviously, that decision will be taken by him, it is his decision. We all know what he represents but it will depend on future projects of the football club Barcelona. He is a winner and he really competes well. So, he wants to be a part of the best project."
Hierro also weighed in on the potential departure of Sergio Ramos, with the Real Madrid skipper entering the final six months of his contract with the Bernabeu outfit.
The former Spain international stressed that the departures of Lionel Messi and Ramos would not necessarily impact the brand value of La Liga.
He, however, said that he will prefer a situation where both players are still present in the league, saying:
''Personally, if you ask me if I would like Messi and Ramos to stay, of course, I would say yes.''
Barcelona's presidential elections and the impact on Lionel Messi's future
The biggest story in Barcelona right now is the upcoming presidential election, with 24 January fixed as the date for a new man to be elected to pilot affairs at the club.
The Blaugrana were rocked by the sudden resignation of former president Josep Bartomeu, and names like Victor Font and Joan Laporta have been identified as potential successors.
Lionel Messi stated his intention to leave Barcelona last summer, citing disillusionment with how the club was being run, but he ultimately ended up staying at the club.
With less than six months to go on his current deal with the club, it is widely believed that he will represent a new club next season. But the outcome of the presidential election could play a key role in his future.
The Rosario native has stressed multiple times that he loves the club and would like to retire at Camp Nou. However, the club's lack of competitiveness, particularly on the continent, has been highly infuriating for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.
If the new president can come in with a solid blueprint to resuscitate the club, Lionel Messi could well continue his remarkable love story with Barcelona.Published 14 Jan 2021, 23:36 IST