Joan Laporta admits he ‘cannot say’ Lionel Messi is definitely staying at Barcelona amid financial issues

Barcelona president Joan Laporta says he cannot confirm whether Lionel Messi will stay at the club following the expiry of his new contract, despite cause for optimism.

Messi’s contract officially expired this morning, meaning he becomes a free agent, 21 years after arriving at Camp Nou.

It is expected that a new deal will be signed, with a two-year contract on the table, but it cannot be signed to due Fair Play issues, it seems, with Barcelona chief Laporta admitting there are financial issues to sort before the deal can be done.

“We want him to stay and Leo wants to stay, everything is on track, we have the theme of Fair Play, we are in the process of finding the best solution for both parties,” Laporta told Onda Cero, as cited by Marca.

“I would like to announce his stay, but in these moments, I cannot say it because we are in the process of finding the best solution for both parties.”

Messi is now able to sign for any club for free, an option he may well have taken up last summer amid his fallout with the Barca board.

But following the re-election of Laporta, it seems the Argentine is very much hoping to stay and is likely to remain patient while Barca get their house in order.

UEFA Fair Play must be abided by if the Blaugrana want to avoid heavy punishment, and the club also have the issue of being around 40% over their La Liga wage cup, as well as being around €1billion in debt.

Tags FC Barcelona Joan Laporta Lionel Messi