Joan Laporta won the Barcelona presidential elections standing on the main issue surrounding the La Liga giants – Lionel Messi.
The Argentine’s future has rarely been out of the news, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.
Messi has reportedly made it clear he could leave the club, leaving Manchester City and Pep Guardiola on red alert.
But since Laporta’s victory, there have been murmurs that he could extend his stay at the Nou Camp, likely ensuring he will end his career at his boyhood club.
"Yesterday I sent him a message to encourage him and not to pay attention to these news because the Catalans want him to continue,” Laporta told Rac1, when reports suggested his desired contract could leave Barcelona in financial ruin.
"I will do everything possible for Messi to continue at Barça . I have indications that he is fine in Barcelona and wants to stay , but he needs to trust a sports project for Barça to be competitive."
With that in mind, Eurosport claim that Messi has five definite priorities that could be the difference between him staying or leaving.
Returning to relevance
Quarter final defeat to PSG means it is now six years since Barca last reached the Champions League final.
In that time, there have been humiliating defeats to Roma and Bayern Munich, with the latter registering an 8-2 victory last season.
Messi is desperate to return to the top of Europe and wants the club to recruit the kind of talents that could get them there. Particularly after losing close friends Luis Suarez and Neymar in recent seasons.
Transfers he agrees with
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Messi does not want to surround himself with players he considers as “mediocre talents”, a situation that has become all-too regular in the past couple of years.
He was keen to see Sergio Aguero make the move, but that is now believed to be off the table, with the pursuit of Erling Haaland now a top priority.
Mino Raiola and the player’s father both met with Laporta in midweek to attempt to seal a deal that could reverse their fortunes.
Continuing with youth
A major factor in convincing Messi to stay in Barcelona is the emergence of the next generation of stars from the famed La Masia academy.
Players like Pedri, Ansu Fati and Ilaix Moriba have all impressed under Ronald Koeman and now aged 33, Messi sees himself as a role model for the younger players.
As well as being close with the academy graduates, he also believes they have the kind of talent to help bring Barca back to prominence.
Communication with Koeman
Messi has struggled to build a relationship with the last couple of managers, with reports claiming he clashed with Luis Enrique and only had a distant bond with Quique Setien.
Ronald Koeman meanwhile has earned the respect of the icon by being direct and up-front with his players.
While results on the pitch have eluded the Dutchman at times, Messi would be perturbed should he be dismissed this summer.
Close links with Laporta to continue
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And now back to the main man. Joan Laporta is believed to have told Messi about his bid for presidency before anyone else, making his importance to the project crystal clear.
The two have a close personal bond and his victory in last month’s election could be the defining factor in him ultimately remaining with the club.
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