Barcelona won 4-2 in the local derby away at Espanyol on Sunday to mathematically seal the LaLiga Santander title. After the game at RCDE Stadium, president Joan Laporta didn’t hesitate to reveal that he has spoken with Lionel Messi about his future.
Laporta stressed that he reached out to Messi in order to explain what was the situation at the club a couple of years ago when he decided against extending the Argentine star’s contract.
“I have spoken with Leo to somehow redirect the situation that occurred when I had to put the institution ahead of everything, including him, the best player in the world,” Laporta told TV3.
“He is still in Paris, [experiencing] unpleasant situations. We have sent messages lately. The truth is that the conversation was affectionate and pleasant. I congratulated him on the World Cup. We have known each other for many years. There is a relationship.”
Saudi Arabian side Al-Ahli have also expressed their interest in Messi, but Laporta believes that Barcelona have the upper hand.
“He is the best player in the world and any coach would like to have him,” Laporta added.
“With all due respect to Saudi Arabia, who is doing a very good job, Barcelona is Barcelona. And Barcelona is his home. The club can compete against the whole world.
“We have history and the feeling of our 400 million followers is so strong. We love Leo, but we will not move in high figures to bring him in. The club is in an austerity plan.”
Laporta went on to stress that Gavi will not depart despite Barcelona facing issues to register him with the first team, and claimed that the club want Ansu Fati to stay put.
“I am convinced that [Gavi] will continue to be a Barcelona player,” Laporta noted.
“I don’t suffer [because he is not registered]. I suffer when he enters with that impetus, with that force, in the plays.
“Ansu has already recovered from injury and is getting more time with the team. Yesterday he enjoyed minutes against Espanyol and last week he played almost the entire game. We count on him.
“He’s a Barcelona player and we want him with us. He’s a quality footballer and integrated into the team. He wants to succeed at Barcelona. The directors will have to decide what happens with him. We’ll see how it goes”.