Barcelona president Joan Laporta must be getting more nervous by the minute as the days pass without a signed contract between the club and Lionel Messi. The Argentine’s current contract expires in just five days, and Laporta’s initial hope that an agreement will be reached by the 24th has so far led to nothing.
Last week, Laporta mentioned that he is eyeing Messi’s birthday, June 24, as a good day to have the contract finalised and signed. However, the day has come and gone and things are still up in the air. A lot is at stake for Laporta, who won the presidency on the main agenda of convincing Messi to extend his stay with the club. If he fails to do this, the members who voted for him will lose confidence.
Messi’s renewal also means a lot for the club financially. Numerous sponsors are waiting for the confirmation before deciding on their long-term partnership with the club. Ticket and merchandise sales will also be severely affected if Messi chooses to leave. Therefore, the captain’s extension will be a big part of Barcelona’s long-term financial recovery plan.
Messi’s 34th birthday has now come and gone, and for some reason, Barcelona has been unable to seal the deal with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner. Laporta has previously said that talks are progressing well, but doubts are being raised because of the fact that no announcement has been made until now.
Laporta also mentioned the 29th as a possible date for the contract signing, that being his own birthday and the day before Messi becomes a free agent. It is unclear why it has taken Messi this long to make a decision, with the club clearly bending over backwards to convince him to stay.
He has reportedly been offered a two-year extension, plus a ten-year role as club ambassador after that. Messi has not been vocal about his plans since he declared last summer that he wanted to leave, but many believe that his stance has changed since then.