Laporta puts Messi at heart of Barcelona presidency bid


Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta officially confirmed his candidacy for the club's January 24 elections in a press conference in the city on Monday.

Laporta pledged to try to convince Lionel Messi to stay at the Camp Nou if he won and said he did not rule out trying to bring Pep Guardiola back at some point.

"It would be great to go on having the leadership of Messi on the pitch," said Laporta.

"We know he can't go on forever but he still has some years left playing at the highest level. We hope that is the way it works out and if not, that we have alternative plans."

Messi will be free to talk to other clubs from January 1. And any new offer to the player from Barcelona is likely to be a long way short of his current contract because of the new financial situation created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Laporta said: "I think Leo will be the first to understand the club's situation and he will make allowances for that."

Laporta said he had not spoken to Guardiola who he hired as first team coach in 2008.

But he added: "[Pep] is a friend and if he has taken that decision [to stay at Manchester City] and he is happy then congratulations. Like all Barca fans I hope he returns one day. And if I win perhaps one day I can achieve that."

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