Neymar’s declaration last night saying emphatically that he wants more than anything else to play with Lionel Messi again next season has caused earthquake tremors to immediately spike on the Richter scale at Barcelona, according to Diaro AS.
Joan Laporta, another front-running candidate to become the club’s new president, said to Catalunya Radio that while he has spoken with Messi, they haven’t yet discussed a possible renewal.
“I have not spoken with him about the renewal,” he said. “I need to have the authority as elected president to be able to do it. Could we renew his deal with the current figures? Sure, there are imaginative solutions that can enable Messi to remain at the club.
“Messi is a priority. All the clubs love him and he makes any club a candidate to win everything, he makes that difference. He’s also highly important on an economic level. Messi loves Barcelona and will help the club if the project is right.”
Neymar has spent the majority of his professional career in Spain with Messi at Barcelona, where he formed part of the lethal MSN strike force alongside the Barca talisman and El Pistolero, Luis Suarez.
The mercurial Brazilian joined the Catalans in 2013 from Santos and won two La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys, one Spanish Super Cup, one Club World Cup and one Champions League at Camp Nou before joining Paris Saint-Germain in a record €200m deal in 2017 that saw him striking out on his own career path in the Parisian capital.
Messi, despite showing the early signs of slowing down as he begins to enter his mid-30s, registered 31 goals and 27 assists last season, from 44 appearances. The season before he scored 51 goals and contributed 20 assists from 50 games.
Laporta had previously served as Barca club president between 2003 and 2010, being instrumental in overseeing the construction of one of the greatest club teams in football history alongside Pep Guardiola and Messi.
Laporta and his team have strategically positioned themselves as a core group of Barcelona diehards who understand the feeling of the club better than most, and that they will endeavor to return the club to its fundamental value of prioritizing social and human values as well as economic and sporting ambitions.
They also have a straddle positioning of placing renewed emphasis on La Masia and Barcelona’s responsibility of projecting Catalonia to the world, besides increasing economic responsibility and sporting ambition according to his campaign website.