Barcelona president Joan Laporta has offered an update on captain Lionel Messi’s future at the Camp Nou as well as the club’s hopes of landing reported transfer targets Neymar and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland.
Laporta spoke about Messi’s contract renewal before boarding a flight to Seville to join the Barcelona squad for Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao, as reported by Cadena SER.
“Everything is progressing properly. We will do what we can within the club’s capabilities, and we are doing it,” he said. “I see Leo as very motivated. He is an extraordinary person who is very eager to continue at the club.”
Laporta was also approached by a supporter who offered the president his view on the club’s transfer targets ahead of the summer transfer window. The fan explained, “I don’t want Haaland or Mbappé, I want Neymar,” to which Laporta replied “I like him too.”
The Barcelona president has already met with Haaland’s agent but a deal will be difficult to complete due to the club’s financial problems. Laporta offered the following response when asked about the possibility of landing the Borussia Dortmund forward, according to ESPN.
“Everything that has to be done will be done and we will ensure that it’s done well,” he said. “We have to work hard to build a competitive team for next season. But [right now] the priority is to win the final [on Saturday].”
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Messi Contract Latest
Laporta’s comments come amid conflicting rumors about Messi’s future and whether or not the Barcelona president has been in touch to make the forward an offer of a new contract.
A report from Catalan radio station RAC1 has suggested Laporta has made an offer that will mean Messi must take a pay cut for now because of the club’s financial problems but his wages will increase as the club recovers, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The offer also includes the possibility of Messi taking up an ambassadorial role with the club once he finally decides to hang up his boots. The report adds Laporta is also trying to convince Messi to stay by doing his best to land Haaland.
However, it has since been reported that Messi is still waiting for an offer. Diario Sport report that the renewal offer will only be made once an audit has taken place which will reveal how much the club can offer Messi.
Messi ‘Has Made Up His Mind’
Meanwhile, some former Barcelona stars have been happy to talk about the captain’s future and offer their opinions on what he will do next. Ex-goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta told Catalunya Radio that he thinks Messi has already made up his mind
“These are the factors that accumulate, but I think that Messi has, more or less, made up his mind. The cup final is one of those factors that help to confirm your decision. But I don’t think it will be decisive. He is a veteran and we have all had days when we think about giving up football,” he said. “Messi is a footballer in the traditional sense of the word, he is not a marketing product. He’s old enough to know that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, the thing is that he feels good at Barca.”
Former midfielder Yaya Toure has also offered his thoughts and told Cadena SER that Laporta must do all he can to ensure Messi sees out his career at the Camp Nou.
“I hope Messi stays at Barça, he’s a special player,” he said. “I don’t see him outside of Barcelona, Laporta has to do everything, he has to understand that Messi must continue, he must be like Maldini or Totti, players from a single club.”
Messi and Barcelona are currently preparing for another crucial match on Saturday against Athletic in the Copa del Rey final. A victory for the Catalans would see the team pick up a first trophy under manager Ronald Koeman.