Ramon Planes, who replaced Eric Abidal as the club’s new football director, has explained that the Spanish giants have been working hard to try and persuade Messi to stay.
The Argentine’s transfer request follows on from a disappointing end to the 2019/20 season, which saw Barcelona hammered 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-finals by Bayern Munich after missing out on the La Liga title.
Planes spoke to the media this morning and was supposed to be talking about new £27 million signing Francisco Trincao after his move from Braga.
But naturally the discussion moved quickly across to Messi, with the Barcelona sporting director detailing the current situation in regards to the 33-year-old six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Planes said: “It was very important news. But what the coach, the president and I have said many times, is to think of Leo Messi for the future of Barca, to build a winning cycle together with the best player in history.
“Barca has rebuilt itself many times in recent times and he always comes back with much more strength. Our idea is to build a team around the best player in the world.”
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Messi wants to leave Barcelona on a free transfer thanks to a clause in his contract that allowed him to do that at the end of the 2019/20 season. The problem is the end of the campaign was supposed to be in June and so there is debate over whether the clause has expired or not.
When asked about the clause, Planes added: “We do not contemplate any contractual exit, because we want Messi to stay. Internally we are working for long hours to find the best solution for the club and for Leo.
“We cannot make this a public dispute because neither Messi nor Barca deserve it. We are working internally to convince Messi.”