Newly elected Barcelona president Joan Laporta says he has seen clear signs of Lionel Messi’s love for the club and insists he remains optimistic that the Argentine will stay.
Messi’s contract in Catalonia expires at the end of the season, and he put in a transfer request last summer after becoming disillusioned with the running of the club.
But Laporta ushered in a new era on Sunday by winning the La Liga giants’ presidential election, and immediately addressed the biggest question facing the club.
“Seeing Lionel Messi coming to vote today, seeing him taking part, that is very telling," Laporta said in a press conference.
"Twenty years ago [he] made his debut with Barca's youth team. Seeing the best player in the world come out to vote today is a clear sign of what we keep saying. Leo loves Barca.
"The best player in the world loves Barca and I hope that is a sign that he will stay at Barcelona, which is what we all want."
Laporta has a long-running relationship with Messi, as he previously spent seven years as Barcelona president between 2003 and 2010.
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