Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has said that club still has time to ensure that Lionel Messi stays at the club beyond this summer.
According to AFP, Laporta said that Barcelona needed to make a convincing proposal to Messi before he eventually makes a decision about his future.
Laporta, a former club president, held the post between 2003 and 2010. He is one of several candidates in the running to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu, who was impeached as club president in late 2020.
The presidential election at Barcelona is scheduled to be held on January 24.
"He [Messi] said he would wait until the end of the season and that gives us time to submit a convincing proposal to him," Laporta said.
From January 1 onwards, Messi has been free to sign a pre-contract agreement with any club, but Messi has said that he has not yet decided on his future. In an interview on Spanish television on December 27, Messi had reportedly said that his future was still undecided.
"I don’t know yet," Messi said. "I’m focused. I’m not thinking about how the season is going to end."
Laporta sees "advantage" to keep Lionel Messi at Barcelona
Messi made his first-team debut for Barcelona when Laporta was the club president. In addition, with the trophies that Barcelona won during his first presidency, Laporta has said that he has an advantage over other candidates, especially in resolving the Messi saga.
"I have credibility with Leo," Laporta said. "He has always told me that everything I promised him has come true. He knows that if I give my word, I keep it."
In that interview though, Messi admitted that it would be "complicated to bring it [Barcelona] back to the level it was at".
After a tug-of-war, the Argentine decided to stay, though he said that he had only done so because of not wanting to take the 'club of his life' to court and fight a legal battle with them.
On January 24, Messi will find out who will succeed Bartomeu as Barcelona club president. The Argentine has, in the past, indicated that the new club board would be among the factors he would take into consideration before deciding whether or not to stay at the club.Published 03 Jan 2021, 16:44 IST