Messi stays at Barcelona: Font and Laporta celebrate icon's decision

By Guy Atkinson 5 September 2020 6
Messi stays at Barcelona: Font and Laporta celebrate icon's decision

Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font and former president Joan Laporta have welcomed Lionel Messi's decision to stay at the LaLiga giants. 

The Argentina superstar sent shockwaves through world football last week when he announced he wanted to leave Barca in the wake of the humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

LaLiga disputed Messi's claim that he could leave on a free transfer courtesy of a clause in his contract, though, and insisted any potential suitor would have to negotiate with Barca or pay the €700million release clause in his contract, with his option to leave for nothing having expired on June 10.

That resulted in Messi confirming on Friday that he would remain at Camp Nou because the option of a free transfer was no longer available. 

Font, who is the only official candidate for the presidency as things stand, previously said the prospect of Messi leaving the club gave him "nightmares".

He took to social media to express his pleasure at Messi's decision, highlighting his comment about a lack of direction at the club alongside a picture of the talismanic forward with Xavi, his former team-mate, who Font is expected to install as head coach if he becomes president. 

In response to Messi saying "there has been no project for a long time and there is nothing, they are juggling and covering holes," Font said: "Only with a solid project, well worked out, will we overcome future challenges. We rebuild Barca. Yes to the future!"

Laporta, who previously held Barca's presidency between 2003 and 2010 and is expected to officially throw his hat into the ring for next year's election in the coming months, described the 33-year-old's decision as "wise".

He posted on Twitter: "Magnificent Leo, wise decision, very well explained. And now to continue fighting to win again and continue making history. Today Messi has given more joy to Barcelona fans!"

Barcelona's new president will be elected in March 2021.

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Guy Atkinson