The 33-year-old could leave for free at the end of the month but the boss at Camp Nou insists he will remain for at least another year
Barcelona president Joan Laporta says Lionel Messi wants to stay at the club, and it is only financial regulations that are preventing them announcing a new contract.
The Argentina star can leave Camp Nou at the end of the month when his deal expires, and the club have been trying to commit him to an extension.
Messi wanted to leave last year and attempted to exercise a release clause in his contract, but decided to stay because he did not want a legal battle with Barcelona.
What has been said?
Laporta says the 33-year-old has been convined to remain at Barca and they want to get a deal wrapped up “as soon as possible”.
“Leo Messi’s boots will continue on the Camp Nou pitch. He wants to stay. I do not contemplate a no. It isn’t easy. We’ll do what we can,” Laporta said. “There is no need to seduce him, he is determined if there are a series of circumstances to stay.”
He added: “He is OK but he hasn’t signed yet. Kun Aguero tells him every day: ‘Sign that, we will play together’.”
What is holding up the deal?
Laporta says Barca have not been able to confirm an agreement so far because they must balance the books to comply with UEFA Financial Fair Play rules.
The president admits they will have to sell some players to make sure they can keep Messi.
“In economic terms, he has made it very easy, but financial fair play is another battleground,” he said. “We have to follow the rules, we will follow them. There will be more sales and loans. Without paying a transfer fee. We will do a lot of loans, because we have a very high sports payroll compared to other clubs.”
How did Messi perform last season?
Despite Barcelona enduring a disappointing 2020-21 season, Messi was once again the top scorer in La Liga. He netted 30 goals in 35 appearances in the league – seven more than nearest challenger Gerard Moreno.
He also scored five times in the Champions League and three in the Copa del Rey – the only competition they won last term.