I am ‘convinced’ he will sign new deal

Barcelona president Joan Laporta is convinced Lionel Messi will stay at the club and said everything is progressing well, although sources have told ESPN he hasn’t yet offered the forward a new contract.

Messi’s existing deal expires in June and he will be free to leave the club if he doesn’t sign new terms.

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Laporta, who was elected for a second spell as Barca president in March, has always expressed his desire for Messi to stay at Camp Nou but is holding off on offering him a new contract until an internal audit on the club’s finances has been carried out.

A report on Friday suggested a first offer had been made this week. Sources close to the Catalan club and the player denied that to ESPN, but Laporta demonstrated optimism ahead of this weekend’s Copa del Rey final.

“Everything is progressing adequately,” Laporta told Deportes Cuatro before flying to Seville, where Barca face Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

“I will do everything within the club’s capabilities to get him to stay. That’s what we’re doing. Messi is motivated. He is an extraordinary person and I am convinced that he will want to continue at Barca.”

Messi, 33, wanted to leave last summer after the 8-2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich but the situation has changed since then.

One of his main problems was his relationship with former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who has now been replaced by Laporta, who was in the rolre when Messi first broke into the first-team.

In an interview in December, Messi said he will wait until the end of the season before deciding on his next move. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are monitoring the situation.

As well as the financial offer, Laporta will also have to convince Messi by assuring him that he can build a team capable of competing for the Champions League next season.

On that front, Laporta has already met with Erling Haaland‘s representatives to discuss a prospective deal. Sources have told ESPN Barca are working on a deal for Haaland but that financially it will be a very difficult deal to pull off.

“Everything that has to be done will be done and we will ensure that it’s done well,” Laporta added when asked about the chances of signing the Borussia Dortmund striker.

“We have to work hard to build a competitive team for next season. But [right now] the priority is to win the final [on Saturday].”

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