In an interview with Ara, a Catalonia-based newspaper, Barcelona presidential hopeful Emili Rousaud sat down to about his project and how he plans to excavate Barcelona out of the cavernous hole they had dug themselves into.
Speaking on a host of other topics, including Neymar, the financial situation, and Bartomeu, among other things, the crux of what he addressed amongst the key topics was his audacious statement regarding Lionel Messi and how he plans to convince him to stay. This should surely arrest the attention of Barcelona fans.
“Do you think Messi will stay?”, the question invariably came up.
“We will have to sit down with Messi and ask him for a salary sacrifice. Right now, with the wage bill, it is not sustainable. Messi has written the brightest pages in the history of the club, and we must honour legends. But the reality is what it is. We will ask for this sacrifice. And if there is finally no agreement, Messi will not be there.”
Well, even if this is inarguably boldest statement given out by any of the presidential candidates as part of an initial assault in his premeditated presidential campaign agenda – quite likely as a PR move to attract attention to his campaign – one can’t be faulted for being quizzical about the approcah this candidate has adopted. You don’t need to be one of the earlier Joe Biden key campaign strategists to know that a statement of this insensitively abrasive nature will certainly get the presidential hopeful the attention that he seeks – but not the kind he needs.
Not among the frontrunners for the election, with Joan Laporta and Victor Font in the front already having promised all expectant Cules and Barcelona fans that they will try their level best to keep Messi at the club, Rousaud is at best digging an early grave for himself.
What this season has clearly shown, if anything, it is that the team, and most definitely the club itself, cannot function without Messi continuing to do only what he does best on the pitch, twilight years or otherwise. There is clearly no debate on the issue that there is no one else who can still take incentive on the pitch that would – in his indubitably proven way all these long years the irrepressible Argentine has been integrally woven into the core texture at Camp Nou – directly impact the Blaugrana with his indomitable fighting spirit and leadership.
Predicated on even just this most fundamental premise that is at the throbbing heart of Barcelona’s culture, keeping Messi at the club has to be the top-most priority of any and all presidential candidates. Only then can a new structure of reinforcement of any sort with any credibility be built around him, not without him.