Joan Laporta is “very calm” because the continuity of Lionel Messi. In the absence of 14 days for the Barça star’s contract to expire, the president is almost absolutely certain that he will not be upset at the last minute. The leader does not contemplate the “no” of Messi to follow in the discipline of the team, of which he is the captain and maximum reference.
Prudence obliges, and Laporta will not be entirely sure until he sees Messi’s signature stamped on a new contract, which will be the longest the player has ever signed. The inevitable reduction in the payroll of the staff also affects the best footballer in the world, who assumes and understands the reduction. And he accepts it with the approach that Laporta has presented to him to contractually link the footballer with Barça even after he has retired.
“Leo’s boots will continue on the pitch of the Camp Nou”, Laporta guaranteed in the presentation of the documentary Messi, the tenth art (Messi, the tenth art), made by TV-3 and which will be broadcast on Tuesday of next week. “I do not contemplate a no, I do not consider it”, remarked the president of Barça, who would like to close the agreement “as soon as possible”. Laporta would like to wait for the news to be announced on two imminent emblematic dates: the 24th of June (Messi’s anniversary, who will be 34 years old) or June 29 (Laporta’s, which will be 59).
An excited president
The top leader of Barça was moved at the event, held at the Palau de la Música, and even shed tears. He is one of the participants in the documentary. “I have imagined it, yes I have imagined it a little,” he replied when asked if he had thought what that moment would be like to get Messi’s signature on the contract that would bind him for life, and that it was not that signature in another burofax like the one you sent to Josep Maria Bartomeu in August 2020 calling for freedom. “I do not know if I can contain myself; if I watch a program like this that has already made me feel many things, imagine if I have it next to me. I will behave,” he joked after compiling himself.
The leader’s concern is based on the possibility that a club could interfere in an operation that “goes well” without being completely closed. A club of the so-called club-state that they have enough economic power to change the will of a Messi who “is not guided by economic reasons” but by Barça’s sporting project if he creates “a competitive team” capable of aspiring to all titles.
That capacity is hampered by lack of money. Due to the current ruin of the entity, condemned to reduce the salary mass from 4 to 1. “We act with great skill and capacity, he is determined if a series of circumstances arise, he stays, he wants to stay,” said Laporta, that was allowed to reveal that “Agüero reminds him every day: sign, we will play together”.
The real problem, the biggest drag, is the debt left by Bartomeu of 1,173 million, and the loss of liquidity due to the pandemic. “There will be no more signings,” he said, but there will be “more entries” of players. How? with the formula of exchanges of footballers with other clubs, cases in which the amounts of the chips of those involved will then be discussed. Barça sees itself in the position that their salaries are among the highest in Europe and the Catalans will have a double reluctance: first to leave, and then to lose money. Laporta has no choice but to find “solutions to comply with the regulations” within the limits set by the fair play financial.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.