Messi wants love and silverware not money amid Barca doubts, insists Laporta

By Sports Desk February 17, 2021

Lionel Messi is not motivated by money as he eyes titles amid uncertainty over his Barcelona future, according to presidential candidate Joan Laporta.

Messi has been heavily linked with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Premier League giants Manchester City, with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

The record six-time Ballon d'Or winner tried to leave Camp Nou at the start of the 2020-21 campaign before opting to stay.

As doubts remain over Messi following Barcelona's 4-1 rout at the hands of PSG in the first leg of the blockbuster last-16 tie on Tuesday, Laporta – one of the remaining candidates in the running for the presidency – remains hopeful of keeping the 33-year-old.

"Giving him affection is very important," Laporta told Sky Sport Italia. "The love story between Messi and Barcelona is one of the most beautiful stories in football.

"He has to be loved. He deserves it. And he has to be valued with an economic offer that makes him feel valued, but he's not led by money.

"I know him, I have a good relationship with him and a lot of respect.

"He's a winner. What he wants is to win again, with Barcelona. I'm going to do everything I can to keep him. Our competitors are state clubs, they are making offers.

"We have to be clear that money doesn't guarantee titles, and Leo is more about winning titles than making money."

Laporta added: "He makes more money than he costs, much more. Messi's cost represents eight percent of the club's total income, while he generates around 30 percent of the income.

"Messi is very profitable for Barcelona, but the most important thing is the emotional return he gives us.

"It's priceless when you ask a young boy or girl who their favourite player is and they immediately say Messi."

Messi's opening goal against PSG was his 20th goal of the season for Barcelona in all competitions – it is the 13th consecutive campaign he has scored 20-plus goals for the club.

The Barca captain has scored in the Champions League in each calendar year since 2005. This run of at least one goal in 17 consecutive years is the joint-longest run in the competition's history alongside Raul (1995-2011).

Related items

  • A-League: Melbourne City go nine points clear after beating battling Brisbane Roar A-League: Melbourne City go nine points clear after beating battling Brisbane Roar

    Melbourne City moved nine points clear at the top of the A-League after a battling 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

    Des Buckingham's side were 2-0 up after only 17 minutes, Connor Metcalfe blasting past goalkeeper Jamie Young before Scott Jamieson doubled the lead via Brisbane's Kai Trewin.

    The visitors, who felt a handball should have been given against Craig Noone in the build-up, responded impressively to draw level before half-time through a fine Joey Champness strike and a Macaulay Gillesphey header.

    City, who fired in 33 shots across the 90 minutes, failed to capitalise on their chances until some brilliance from Scott Galloway, the full-back's superb run sending him into the box where he hooked a clever finish into the left-hand corner after his cross had been blocked.

    City are nine points clear of the chasing pack, with Sydney FC, Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners and Macarthur all on 32 points.

    In the later match, Perth Glory beat Melbourne Victory 2-1 at HBF Park to move seven points clear of the bottom two and keep their top-six hopes alive.

    Robbie Kruse missed a first-half penalty for the visitors, who were given an uphill task when Nicholas Ansell was sent off 48 minutes in for a crude challenge on Callum Timmins.

    Diego Castro combined well with Ciaran Bramwell to set up Bruno Fornaroli to open the scoring, with Chris Ikonomidis volleying home the second. Rudy Gestede grabbed a consolation for Victory after Kruse hit the crossbar.

    Perth are nine points adrift of Western Sydney Wanderers in sixth but have two games in hand.

  • 'Delicate negotiations' taking place over moving Champions League final to the UK 'Delicate negotiations' taking place over moving Champions League final to the UK

    'Delicate negotiations' are taking place about moving the Champions League final to the United Kingdom, government minister Michael Gove has said.

    Premier League sides Manchester City and Chelsea are scheduled to face off in the showpiece fixture on May 29, with Istanbul the destination for the match.

    However, doubts about the Turkish city's ability to host the game were left in serious doubt after the UK placed the nation on its country's travel "red list".

    This week, UEFA said it remained committed to staging the game in Istanbul, despite the country being under coronavirus lockdown until May 17.

    Europe's chief governing body also said it intended to operate with reduced fans in attendance at the Ataturk Stadium, but the new UK government rules mean City and Chelsea fans travelling for the game would have to quarantine in government-approved hotels when returning to the UK.

    There had been suggestions that the UK was ready to step in to play host, although with Wembley also currently scheduled to hold the Championship play-off final the same day it remains to be seen if the national stadium is a viable alternative.

    However, reports suggested the EFL is open to moving all three of its play-off finals to allow Wembley to host the Champions League final

    Gove confirmed plans are being discussed over moving the destination of the game, telling Sky News: "There are delicate negotiations that are going on at the moment.

    "My friend, my colleague, the culture secretary Oliver Dowden, is talking to people about this at the moment, and so I don't want to cut across that. 

    "I'm sure that fans in the UK would dearly love to see the final played here in the UK."

    Turkey's red list status, which is effective from May 17 and will not be reviewed for three weeks, would also add significant complications for players returning to the UK before linking up with their national teams for Euro 2020 and the Copa America, unless exemptions can be secured.

    Both international tournaments begin on June 11, 13 days after the Champions League final.

  • He's always spectacular these days - Curry brilliance endures in latest MVP-level showing He's always spectacular these days - Curry brilliance endures in latest MVP-level showing

    Perhaps the most incredible aspect of Stephen Curry's enduring brilliance is that nobody is surprised by it, not least Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

    Kerr had the best seat in the house at Chase Center as Curry produced another remarkable showcase of his unparalleled shooting ability in the Warriors' 136-97 rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

    It was a deluge of points from Curry, who scored 49 points in just 29 minutes, responding magnificently to the 50 points scored by Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal, with whom he is engaged in battle for the NBA scoring title. 

    Twenty-four of those points came in the first quarter and he tallied 22 in the third, marking the eighth time this season he has scored at least 20 in a quarter.

    Curry went 14 of 26 from the field and 11 of 21 from the three-point line. It was the seventh game of the season in which Curry has made double-digit three-pointers. He has achieved that feat 22 times in his career and five times in his last 15 games.

    He is averaging a league-high 31.9 points per game and has racked up at least 30 in 19 of the last 21 games.

    "It seems like he's just always spectacular these days," Kerr said. "And tonight, he topped it. Really spectacular.

    "When he got going in the third, we had about 4,000 fans in the stands and you could just hear every one of them in anticipation of the ball going in the hoop.

    "It's just amazing. The skill level is matched by his confidence level, and magical things happen."

    For all his incredible feats this season, Curry is not the favourite to win what would be a third MVP, with Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets still seen as the frontrunner.

    Asked if he believes Curry is the MVP, Kerr left no room for doubt.

    "Of course, I do," Kerr replied. "I get to watch this show every single night and I have just so much admiration for what Steph does every single night not only on the floor but the way he carries himself and the way he is an example for all of his team-mates."

    Curry was a touch more reserved about his stunning run of form.

    "It's been a great run, obviously, trying to continue it," he said.

    "Nights like tonight when you want to get off to a good start knowing we should win this game, and they were going to come out and try to give themselves some life early, we wanted to take that away.

    "Offensively, just trying to create any type of space. When you see the first two [three-pointers] go down, you start to find another level of confidence even to start the game and try to create an avalanche from there."

    The Warriors will likely need a few more of those avalanches to secure the eighth seed in the play-in tournament for the playoffs. They are a game ahead of the ninth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, but face the top two seeds in the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns, on Monday and Tuesday.

    They then take on the New Orleans Pelicans before rounding out the regular season against the Grizzlies on May 16.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.