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New Barcelona president says he wants Lionel Messi to stay

Joan Laporta
(Image credit: Joan Monfort)

Barcelona’s new president Joan Laporta said he will try and persuade Lionel Messi to stay at the club in his inauguration ceremony at the Nou Camp.

Laporta, 58, elected as Barca’s new president for a second spell last week, told Messi that he loved him and would do his best to convince the Argentinian that his future lay with the Catalan giants.

“We will, for example, try to convince Leo to stay at the club,” Laporta said during his speech, which was attended by Messi and his team-mates.

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“Sorry Leo… I will do my best and he knows it! We’re going to try, of course, to convince him to stay here because he’s the best player in history.

“Sorry, but I love you and Barcelona also loves you. If this stadium were full, you wouldn’t want to go.”

Lawyer Laporta, 58, who spent seven years in the role until 2010, said addressing the club’s financial situation was also a priority and that he had faith in head coach Ronald Koeman.

“Now we need to do things well. We’ll do what we can so you can be proud of Barcelona again,” he said. “The economic situation is a priority for us.

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“We need to make the club sustainable. We have a plan for this. We will take decisions in Barcelona’s best interests.

“Stability is key and we can improve all the sections to make them more competitive. But, we must maintain stability.”

During Laporta’s first seven-year tenure, Barca won four Spanish LaLiga titles, two UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.

On Koeman, he added: “Ronald, you have our confidence.

“We want to get back to making history in the Champions League, but this year we need to go out and try to win the league title and the Copa del Rey.”