by Linda Ikeji
Former Barcelona president, Joan Laporta has admitted he’s “scared” star player Lionel Messi might leave the club due to the current board members that control affairs at the club.
Messi is contracted at Camp Nou until 2021 but there have been reports that he has issues with Barca’s current president Josep Maria Bartomeu and other board members, with further reports indicating that the Argentine is considering his future at the club he has played for since the age of 12.
Bartomeu recently said Messi will re-sign and likely see out his career at Barcelona but Laporta has noted Barca’s current board members could force their star into a corner and make him reconsider his future.
“I want him to stay in 2021 but I am scared that a bad decision of this board could result in an irreversible decision,” Laporta said of Messi at an event at Sant Joan de Deu hospital on Wednesday.
“It’s not BarcaGate, it’s BartoGate, I am worried about how the status of the club is being put at risk.”
Laporta, who wants to run for Barcelona president again, has also warned club legend Xavi against returning to manage the club until new board members are brought in.
“If I was Xavi, I would never be back with this board,” Laporta said.
“Every day I have more desire to take part in the election. Some concrete conditions are needed for me to feel comfortable to run right now rather than resist for a few more years.”
Speaking in May, Laporta revealed he’d love for Pep Guardiola to return and manage the club.
“I’m working to introduce myself as a presidential candidate,” Laporta told TV3.
“I’ve been president before and I’m excited to be back. The situation in 2021 will be dramatic and we’ll have to reverse it. I’m working with people I trust.
“I would very much like Guardiola to come back, but now he is at City and it is a decision that Pep should take. He is a benchmark for Barcelona and many Catalans would like him to train Barca again.
“At the right time, I will speak to the person we think should be Barca coach from 2021.”