January 28 – An unsavoury row has broken out between Barcelona and Paris St Germain over the future of Lionel Messi with the Catalan giants threatening to report the Middle East-owned Ligue 1 champions to FIFA and UEFA.
Barca presidential candidate Joan Laporte says he will take legal action against the Argentine’s potential suitors if he secures a second term in succession to Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Laporta believes PSG, who have been strongly linked with Messi ever since his decision (subsequently withdrawn) to hand in a transfer request at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, have overstepped the mark and been “disrespectful” in their pursuit of the Argentina superstar.
Messi ultimately decided to see out the final year of his contract rather than take on the club legally but his long-term future after next summer remains uncertain.
Laporta, who was the architect of a golden era at Camp Nou when he was in charge first time round,was almost certainly referring in part to PSG sporting director Leonardo publicly sounding out Messi earlier this month.
“It is disrespectful to Barca that clubs like PSG publicly say they are going to sign Messi,” Laporta told a press conference on Wednesday.
“This coming from a club-state that have bypassed the rules. We cannot allow clubs and states the luxury of destabilising another club.
“In that sense, we will have to speak with UEFA and FIFA to avoid such actions. PSG must abstain from [talking about Messi]. It is out of place for another club to speak about him. And, at the moment, there is no president in place to respond to this lack of respect.”
But Laporta admits time is running out. “The club must be capable of making a good proposal that Messi is willing to accept. That depends on the club.”
“I would understand any answer [from Messi], but he needs to know what the proposal is; that requires urgency. It is getting more complicated all the time to make a convincing proposal. He’s free to negotiate with other clubs now and Barca are still without a president