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The president of Barcelona is “moderately optimistic” that Lionel Messi will stay at the club

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Lionel Messi

With one month from Lionel Messi’s contract, club president Joan Laporta is “moderately optimistic” that Barcelona’s greatest player will remain in place.

“There will be a new contract for Messi, but it is not over yet,” Laporta said at his first press conference on Friday since he began his second term in charge of the Spanish power plant.

Last summer, Messi wanted to leave the club after a season without a title, but was denied exit. In December, he said he would postpone a decision on his future once the season is over. Messi’s contract expires on June 30.

Laporte said he was “moderately optimistic” that he and Messi could reach a deal that was “within the club’s capabilities and acceptable to the player”.

Laporta did not disclose what salary the club could offer to Messi, saying that Barcelona is still conducting an internal audit with financial difficulties affected by 1.2 billion euros ($ 1.4 billion) in debt and 350 million euros ($ 426 million) in losses. in this season. Laporta said Barcelona will be able to balance their books in two years, thanks to the continuing interest shown by sponsors and investors in the club.

Laporte said Messi wants a more competitive Barcelona on the pitch.

“Leo certainly deserves more and could do more elsewhere, but his desire is to make Barça great,” said Laporta. “I am sure he appreciates the efforts we are making and I think he is excited and motivated by the project we are building. For Leo, it’s not about money, but about the team and its chances of winning.

“Leo, above all, wants to feel comfortable, to feel appreciated. And then to win. “

Laporta has successfully led Barcelona since 2003-2010, when Messi blossomed into a star. He returned to power after winning a club election in March following the resignation of his predecessor, Josep Bartomeu.

Messi, 33, has led Barcelona to four Champions League titles and 10 Spanish league titles.

Barcelona finished the Spanish league in third place and were relegated from the Champions League in the last 16. Its only title was the Copa del Rey.

This left the future of coach Ronald Koeman in doubt.

Laporta said he and the former Barcelona defender were in talks to see what the team should take, but did not confirm that Coman would be allowed to finish the year left by his contract.

“My relationship with Koeman is very good. “It’s about making sure we share the same vision and goals,” Laporta said. “He told me he wanted to continue. We are in a period of reflection with him to see what we are doing next.

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