Laporta: I'll do everything to get Messi to stay at Barca
Lionel Messi © Getty Images

After being sworn in as Barcelona’s new president on Wednesday, Joan Laporta hugged Lionel Messi and promised to do everything in his power to persuade the club’s all-time top scorer to stay.

Laporta’s promise to Messi came just two days after the star tied Xavi Hernandez for the most appearances at the club with 767, celebrating by scoring two goals in a 4-1 defeat of Huesca.

In his speech at the Camp Nou, Laporta said, “I’ll do everything I can to make Leo stay because he’s the best player in history.” Messi and fellow captains Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, and Sergio Busquets were in attendance.

“You know I love you, you know Barca loves you and if this stadium were full when you played, you wouldn’t want to leave. Whatever you decide is fine in the end, but we’ll try.”

Laporta oversaw one of Barcelona’s most unforgettable periods between 2003 and 2010, including Messi’s rise from Barca’s youth academy to become the club’s best player ever. Laporta won the elections held on March 7th after getting 54 per cent of the vote.

Laporta inherits a significant financial meltdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and he stated that keeping the books in order will be his top priority, promising that the club will soon gain the same amount of income as before the pandemic struck last year.

“It’s our priority to make the club sustainable economically and we have an immediate plan to do that. But we’re not scared by the situation and if we have to make big decisions in Barca’s interest then we will,” he said.

Barca were eliminated from the Champions League by PSG last week, but Laporta encouraged his players to aim for a domestic double.

With 11 games remaining, they are four points behind LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid and will face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final next month.

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