Sensational statement from Laporta on Messi's return to Barcelona
Barcelona president Joan Laporta said Monday that the club will "do its best" to bring back Argentine star Lionel Messi this summer.
Messi is due to leave Paris Saint-Germain in the summer when his contract expires and La Liga champions Barcelona hope to regain their all-time top scorer, despite strong interest from Saudi Arabia.
Laporta indicated that he spoke with Messi to try to restore the relationship between them that was damaged when he left the "Camp Nou" in 2021.
Messi wanted to stay at Barcelona but the club was unable to keep him because of his debts of more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion).
Laporta told regional public broadcaster Catalunya TV4: "I spoke to Leo somehow to re-correct the situation that happened, in which I had to put the club ahead at the expense of everything, even he is the best player in the world.
"The truth is that it was a very emotional conversation, very enjoyable, and we sent messages to each other recently – I congratulated him on the World Cup."
In the early hours of Monday morning after Barcelona's 2-3 win over Espanyol to officially clinch the La Liga title, Laporta spoke to Twitch that "we will do our best" to sign Messi.
But speaking to TV400, Laporta was more cautious. He considered that Messi is "a player at Paris Saint-Germain and what we will do is improve the team in all areas, we have already worked on that."
"I think it would be offensive for me to talk about these questions about Leo, because he belongs to a team like Paris Saint-Germain, and we have to wait until the end of the season, until his contract expires, and then we can talk more calmly about this."
But Laporta said that despite the huge financial offer from the Middle East - estimated at $400 million per season - Barcelona could compete for Messi's signature "with all due respect to Saudi Arabia, Barcelona is Barcelona, and it is his home."
"We can compete with everyone. History supports us, emotions are very strong, and we have 200 million fans around the world as well."
Barcelona need more than 218 million euros ($<> million) in savings or new income to be able to operate unfettered under La Liga's Financial Fair Play rules.