‘Messi Has Been Cheated, He Wants More Than Money’ – Laporta

'Messi Has Been Cheated, He Wants More Than Money' - Laporta 5

Barcelona’s presidential candidate, Joan LaPorta had stated that Messi craves a competitive team for success.

Messi‘s future remains an important topic at embattled La Liga giants Barca after he handed in a transfer request following a tumultuous 2019-20 season.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was tipped to join Premier League powerhouse Manchester City before opting to remain in Spain, though he has since been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

Barca’s interim president Carlos Tusquets said the club should have sold Messi in the last transfer window due to the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But Laporta, who is in the running for the presidential election which takes place on January 24 following Josep Maria Bartomeu’s resignation in October, talked up 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.

“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 last time I spoke to him was in October. I am very grateful to him for all he has done for Barcelona. I have known him since he was 16 years old and he is an extraordinary person.

“There is mutual appreciation and respect. We must be inside [the club] to make an imaginative and credible proposal to him.”

Messi has scored four goals in nine La Liga appearances this season, while he has netted seven across all competitions.

“Leo wants to have a squad that brings back the joy,” Laporte added.

“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.”

After being dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid last season and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, Barca are seventh in La Liga and 10 points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad.

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