Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has taken aim at Paris Saint-Germain and the French club’s interest in captain Lionel Messi.
Laporta, who is the current favorite to be named Barcelona president, is not too happy with recent comments made about the Argentine. The 58-year-old told TVE he thinks PSG are trying to unbalance Barcelona with their pursuit of Messi, as reported by AS.
I have read that PSG is posting [financial] losses and we are already talking about whether they can take on these investments. In any case, I would ask them – in the same that we are respectful – that they do not destabilise Barcelona. We haven’t done anything that would prompt them to say that they plan to sign Messi when we are in the middle of the season. I don’t think it’s right.
Messi is in the final year of his contract at Barcelona and able to walk away as a free agent in the summer. The 33-year-old asked to leave last summer and told La Sexta’s Jordi Evole in December he will only make a decision on his future at the end of the season.
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PSG Talk Up Messi Move
PSG officials and players have been happy to discuss a move for Messi in recent weeks. Sporting director Leonardo spoke about the Argentina international in a recent interview with France Football.
Great players like him will always be on PSG’s list. Now is not the time to discuss or even dream of it. We are seated at the table of those keeping tabs on it. In fact, not seated, but with a place reserved — just in case. Four months is a long time.
New manager Mauricio Pochettino was also asked about Messi after being unveiled as Thomas Tuchel’s replacement at the Parc des Princes, as reported by the Guardian.
To be honest, we are not talking about that. We have just arrived and it’s been a crazy period, trying to adapt to a new club. We’ve had lots of meetings, training sessions and are preparing for a game [at Saint-Étienne on Wednesday]. For sure we are going to have time to talk about everything. At Paris Saint‑Germain any big player in the world is, I think, welcome.
Meanwhile, PSG midfielder Leandro Paredes told Corriere dello Sport that his side are trying to sign Messi. He explained, “It’s up to Leo to come to the club, because PSG are trying to convince him. To be able to be coached by a coach from your country and the possibility of playing with Leo is a great opportunity… I hope it happens.”
Barcelona Set For PSG test
Barcelona and PSG are set to meet next month in the last 16 of the Champions League. The two teams will battle it out for a place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s top competition with the first leg set to take place at the Camp Nou on February 16.
Ronald Koeman’s side have endured a tough start to the season but Sunday’s win over Elche made it nine league games unbeaten for the Catalan giants. Messi has not been at his very best this season but has still scored 14 goals in all competitions.
Meanwhile, PSG who are level on points with Lille at the top of the Ligue 1 table but sacked manager Tuchel in December. Pochettino has since taken over and will be charged with bringing the Champions League to PSG for the first time.
The French club reached the final last season, but were beaten by Bayern Munich, while Pochettino guided Tottenham to a first Champions League final in 2019 only to see his team beaten by Premier League rivals Liverpool.