Laporta ‘moderately optimistic’ Messi will stay at Barca

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Barcelona

With a month left on Lionel Messi’s contract, club president Joan Laporta said he is ‘moderately optimistic’ that Barcelona’s greatest player will stay put.

“There will be a new contract for Messi, but it is not done yet,” Laporta said on Friday in his first news conference since he started his second stint in charge of the Spanish powerhouses.

Last summer, Messi wanted to leave the club following a season without a title but was denied an exit.

He said in December that he would postpone a decision on his future once the season had ended. Messi’s contract expires on June 30.

“We can make an offer within our means,” said Laporta. “He deserves more and could get a better contract somewhere else but I’m convinced he appreciates the efforts we are making. I think he is keen to stay.

For Leo, it’s not about money, it’s about winning. And that’s what we are working on.” Asked how optimistic he is that Messi will stay, Laporta answered: “Moderately optimistic.”

Laporta did not reveal what salary the club can offer Messi, saying that Barca are still carrying out an internal audit with its finances hard hit by 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) of debt and 350 million euros ($426 million) in losses this season.

Laporta successfully led Barcelona from 2003-2010 when Messi was blossoming into a star. —AP