In his presentation as new Barcelona president, Joan Laporta made a direct plea to Lionel Messi in an attempt to convince the Argentine to stay at the club.
Laporta faced a late scramble to find the financial backing required to take over at Camp Nou, but after finally securing the funds, he was sworn in as president and is now in a position to start making changes.
?? Joan Laporta, the new president of FC Barcelona pic.twitter.com/74e0RJlfuO— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 17, 2021
In his presentation, for which Messi was in the audience, Laporta discussed his view for the club going forward, but as always, the conversation soon turned towards the Argentine and his expiring contract.
Laporta made direct eye contact with Messi, even dropping him a little wink, and said: "In our first spell we had the best players in Barça history, but if we were successful it was because we had stability.
"It is Barcelona's unity which gives you stability and I invite everyone at Barcelona to think about what they can do for Barça. I am here to make decisions, like convincing Leo to carry on, taking advantage of the fact that he is here. He knows that.
"You know the affection I hold for you and we will do whatever it takes to keep you here. You know you cannot leave, Leo.
"We will not be able to do it alone. As our anthem says, we are strong all together. More so in these most difficult times. We know how to do it.
"When the pandemic is over our revenue will return. That will be fixed. There will be strong leadership, because I am well-accompanied. We will make decisions. To defend the club you have to live and breathe it and we do that as much as possible."
Laporta has basically not stopped talking about Messi since he first announced his intention to run for presidency, and he has made it very clear that he intends to do whatever it takes to convince the 33-year-old to extend his stay at Camp Nou.
His focus is on keeping Messi, but the club are still looking around for the man to fill his shoes when he does eventually leave. According to AS, Barcelona are leading the race for Racing Club's 16-year-old forward Gonzalo Sosa, who has been given the genius nickname 'The Talented One'. How nice.