Joan Laporta is adamant that, if he were elected as Barcelona’s new president, star man Lionel Messi would feel more comfortable at Camp Nou.
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The Argentine rose to prominence during Laporta’s stint at the helm of the club between 2003 and 2010 and he is looking to take charge again in the election on July 18.
The 27-year-old was linked to a move away from Barca last season and had a fallout with coach Luis Enrique but he turned around his form to fire them to a European and domestic treble.
Laporta, 53, has always maintained that Messi’s happiness is crucial to the success of the first team and is convinced that voting for him would help to keep happy the four-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“Last season there was talk of selling Leo but, with me in charge, he would feel far more comfortable,” Laporta said on a debate on TV3.
The Catalan politician then criticised his opponent, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who is looking to be re-elected after leading the club from January 2014 until the board was dissolved ahead of the election.
“Bartomeu and his predecessor, Sandro Rosell, are the type of people who impede the country from moving forward,” Laporta said, before urging the other two candidates, Toni Freixa and Agusti Benedito, to withdraw from the race and pledge their support to himself or Bartomeu.
He insisted: “The polls show that the intention to vote for Benedito and Freixa is low. It’s impossible for them to win. If I was them I’d channel support to either the Bartomeu/Rosell campaign or my own.”