Barcelona president sure of Messiah’s stay

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed that he is “convinced” that Lionel Messi will sign a new contract with the club to stay after this season.

Laporta was re-elected for a second term as club president last month after his predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu was sacked after falling out with other members of the club’s board over Messi’s future.

Messi was present when Laporta was inaugurated as club president again David Ramos / Getty Images

The Argentine forward, who is widely regarded as the club’s greatest player ever, tried to construct a sudden exit from the club last summer, amid enormous frustration over the direction the club was heading.

He announced his intention to leave the club on a free transfer, citing a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave for free. But Barcelona claimed that Messi had missed the deadline that allowed him to do so, and he opted for legal proceedings – instead he was generally expected to play out the season before leaving …

But when Bartomeu is out of the picture and the club’s form is constantly improving under Ronald Koeman – who is driven by the emergence of a new crop of young stars – Deportes Cuatro (via ESPN) says that Laporta is now ‘convinced’ that the 33-year-old will stay even though he does not yet offer him new terms.

“Everything is going well,” Laporta is quoted as saying. “I will do everything in the club’s ability to make him stay. That’s what we do. Messi is motivated. He is an extraordinary person and I am convinced he wants to continue at Barca.”

The team has performed well under Koeman and Messi is reportedly happier to stay Angel Martinez / Getty Images

Messi’s current contract expires at the end of June and he will be able to leave this summer if Barcelona have not managed to calm their worries. He has played 39 times in all competitions this season, scored 29 healthy goals and registered 10 assists.

He may yet get another La Liga title – although bitter rivals Real Madrid are favorites at this stage – but will have to settle for the Copa del Rey success against Athletic Club in terms of cup glory – Barça have emphatically knocked out of the Champions League by a Kylian Mbappe-inspired PSG.

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