New Barcelona president Joan Laporta has made a direct plea to Lionel Messi to stay at he Spanish side as he celebrated his inauguration.
Laporta and Messi, who were both part of Barca’s golden age in the first decade of the 21st century, were pictured embracing prior to the new president’s speech.
And a significant part of the address was aimed directly at the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who last summer demanded predecessor Josep Bartomeu let him leave.
“In our first spell we had the best players in Barca history, but if we were successful it was because we had stability,” Laporta explained.
“It is Barcelona’s unity which gives you stability and I invite everyone at Barcelona to think about what they can do for Barca.
“I am here to make decisions, like convincing Leo to carry on, taking advantage of the fact that he is here. He knows that.
“You know the affection I hold for you and we will do whatever it takes to keep you here. You know you cannot leave, Leo.
“We will not be able to do it alone. As our anthem says, we are strong all together. More so in these most difficult times. We know how to do it.
“When the pandemic is over our revenue will return. That will be fixed. There will be strong leadership, because I am well-accompanied. We will make decisions. To defend the club you have to live and breathe it and we do that as much as possible.”