Barcelona may be in a financial position to move for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland at the end of the season, according to presidential candidate Joan Laporta.

Haaland's stock continues to rise following Wednesday's double for Dortmund in their 3-2 Champions League last-16 first-leg win over Sevilla.

That made the Norway international the quickest player to reach double figures for goals in the competition for a single club, doing so in just seven matches - three games fewer than Roy Makaay for Bayern Munich between 2003 and 2004.

He has now scored a double in three successive Champions League games, having also netted twice against Club Brugge in the group stage.

Former Salzburg star Haaland has 18 goals in 13 games in the competition overall, which is a tally only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski can match since the start of 2019-20.

That type of scoring form has seen Haaland strongly linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Juventus and Barcelona.

Despite Barca's well-known financial struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic, Laporta - who has close links to Haaland's agent Mino Raiola - is not ruling out a possible move.

"If we have to improve the football team, I have the cards and I'm ready to play them," he said in direct response to the links with the 20-year-old attacker.

"It's because of the experience and the knowledge I have of the people who could intervene in all these situations.

"I want to send a message of calm to the Barcelona fans - we will be economically sustainable again."

Laporta is one of three remaining candidates in the running to take over as Barca's next president, along with Victor Font and Toni Freixa.

The elections were originally due to take place in January but had to be pushed back to March 7 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract is the biggest in the history of sport, landing the superstar forward more than €555million over four years.

That is the astonishing claim made by El Mundo, with the Spanish newspaper reporting on Sunday that it had obtained details of the deal signed by the 33-year-old in 2017.

The mega-money agreement, which expires in June this year, would see Messi receive up to €555,237,619 across four seasons, providing a number of conditions are met.

Messi was at the centre of a major transfer storm when he attempted to force a move away from Camp Nou last August, but was left frustrated when Barca refused to sanction an exit.

Amid a fraught presidential election campaign, it has remained apparent that all is not well at the Catalan club, whose financial worries are cast in a fresh light after El Mundo's stunning front-page revelations, with the outlet claiming to have laid hands on a copy of "the most sought-after document".

In addition to annual earnings in excess of €138m – dependent on some variables – the report says Messi received a renewal fee of over €115m, and a loyalty bonus just shy of €78m.

The Argentina international, who also rakes in millions in image rights, is said to have earned more than €500m from the eye-watering deal so far.

Barca's accounts for the 2019-20 season showed gross debt had reached €820m, with the coronavirus pandemic having further dented their outlook.

Against the backdrop of those financial woes, Messi's desire to leave, and with a fractious presidential election not due to be concluded until March, Barca are still off the pace in LaLiga despite a run of four consecutive top-flight wins.

Ronald Koeman's side are 10 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid ahead of Sunday's visit of Athletic Bilbao.

Messi, who was red carded for the first time in his career earlier this month, has contributed 15 goals in all competitions.

Lionel Messi will "do everything in his power" to stay at Barcelona as long as he receives a suitable offer, according to presidential candidate Joan Laporta.

Messi's future has been the subject of speculation and debate for many months, with the club captain attempting to force through a move away last August.

At the time, he was adamant a contractual clause that allowed him to leave for free was still active, but Barca refused to sanction an exit and Messi opted against dragging them through the courts.

Since then Messi has taken a few public jabs at the club, though the early resignation of previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu in October is thought to have been a positive development in Barca's bid to rebuild the relationship.

Messi's contract expires at the end of the season and he has assured fans he will not make any decisions until Barca's campaign has concluded.

Laporta, the overwhelming favourite to succeed Bartomeu when the presidential election is given the green light to go ahead in either February or March, is convinced Messi wants to stay with the Blaugrana.

"Messi is now totally focused on catching Atletico Madrid in LaLiga and playing the Paris Saint-Germain tie in the Champions League," Laporta is quoted as saying by Sport.

"I do not know if he will be playing on Sunday [in the Supercopa de Espana final] but he will be on the bench and it is important that Leo encourage his team-mates.

"I see him more and more happy, he is enjoying it. I know that he wants to stay and I know that he will do everything in his power to stay as long as the club can offer him an offer that suits him."

One player who looks likely to arrive at Barca is Manchester City defender Eric Garcia, who has long been linked with a return to Camp Nou, where he began his career.

Laporta understands Garcia will not join this month but, assuming the new board agrees to his signing, he is being lined up for the end of the season once his contract at City runs out.

"Eric Garcia will not come this winter," Laporta added. "We cannot give a letter to the manager to carry out acts of disposition.

"The options and figures have been explained to us and we have all concluded that if the contract ends, the new board decides to incorporate him.

"We have assessed the player's salary, and it was an operation that had to be carried out by assessing the financial situation of the club."

Three candidates are in the running to became Barcelona president after Emili Rousaud withdrew from the electoral process.

Rousaud announced on Thursday that he is no longer in the frame to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu, who stepped down from the role in October.

Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa are the trio of candidates who are in the race to be named president.

Laporta, the favourite to return for a second term, had 9,625 signatures validated, while there were 4,431 and 2,634 for Font and Freixa respectively in the validation process for an election that will take place on Sunday January 24.

Rousaud had stated he no longer wants to be involved in a "dirty war" for the right to succeed Bartomeu.

Marca quoted him as saying: "It was a day of impressive dignity because, to my surprise, the majority decision was not to agree to join another candidacy, because we cannot tolerate the dirty war and we prefer to stay out.

"Our sporting and economic proposals were the best."

Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta claimed he is the man best placed to persuade Lionel Messi to stay at Camp Nou.

Messi is out of contract at the end of the season and the Argentine's long-term future with Barca remains unclear.

The 33-year-old sent shockwaves through the world of football when he expressed a desire to end his near two-decade association with the Blaugrana ahead of the 2020-21 season, but after a lengthy transfer saga he opted to stay put.

An end to the tenure of Josep Maria Bartomeu – with whom Messi has had a tense relationship – as president in October has prompted the club to bring forward their elections to January 24.

Laporta, who served as Barca president between 2003 and 2010, is considered the leading candidate to triumph in the elections according to a poll in Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.

Since his debut in October 2004, Barca have won 55.9 per cent of their LaLiga games without Messi (won 66, drawn 39 and lost 22), compared to 73.7 per cent with him in the side (won 368, drawn 83 and lost 48).

And Laporta believes his own personal relationship with Messi elevates him above other presidential candidates. 

"I see him [Messi] as positive because he said he will wait until the end of the season, and that gives us time to make a convincing proposal," Laporta told Marca.

"And I have an advantage, with Leo I have credibility. He always tells me that everything I promised him was fulfilled. You know that if I give my word, I keep it.

"We missed huge opportunities having the best player in the world. At Barca there are no transition years.

"We should have won more Champions Leagues, we hope to resume that success story of Barca with the competition. By the way, during my [previous] tenure Madrid did not win any."

Other candidates have made bold claims about which players they will bring to Camp Nou if they were elected.

Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland plus Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have been the most high-profile names, but Laporta would not be drawn on transfer targets.

"I have my own sports project. I will not fall into the trap of naming names," he added.

"All the agents are calling me. I know them all and they want me to be president again, but I tell them that now I'm not talking about players or coaches."

Laporta also believes Barca's influence has diminished in recent years and he would seek to restore their standing.

"It has lost a lot of specific weight in the Spanish Football Federation, LaLiga, UEFA, FIFA and in all the bodies that govern football," he explained.

"Barca has to regain its credibility. We must have a presence to intervene in decision-making that affects football in general."

Lionel Messi's situation at Barcelona is "reversible", according to presidential hopeful Joan Laporta.

Argentina great Messi sent shockwaves through the world of football when he asked to leave Camp Nou ahead of the 2020-21 season but after a lengthy transfer wrangle ultimately ended up staying put.

With Messi out of contract at the end of the campaign, the 33-year-old's long-term future is still shrouded in doubt, although the end of the reign of Josep Maria Bartomeu – with whom he has had a fraught relationship – as president may convince the superstar forward to stay.

One potential issue is the financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with presidential hopeful Toni Freixa last month saying Messi would have to reduce the terms of his bumper contract.

Laporta, who is hoping to return to a position he served between 2003 and 2010, remains hopeful that Barca's financial difficulties and Messi's future can both be resolved, though.

"They are two things that are the result of poor management. The situation has worsened with COVID, but mismanagement is part of and is the origin of this consequence; having Leo like this," Laporta told AS. 

"The two things are reversible. The situation of the club is reversible and the Leo issue, I hope too. 

"I think the most important thing is that Leo said he will wait for a new president to decide and, therefore, he would be willing to listen to Barca's proposal. 

"They told me they would wait until the end of the season. I like to stay with the positive and I think that is very positive."

Back in 2008, Barca sold Ronaldinho and Deco but Messi was reassured of the club's ambition and his own standing as a crucial member of the team following a meeting with Laporta.

Asked what his message to Messi would be now, Laporta said such an answer is dependent on him winning the election.

"To answer the question, first I have to be president. To see the possibilities that we have in the club to make a good financial proposal," he added. 

"And then, the sports proposal has to be competitive. Leo does not move for money, he wants Barca. 

"And then, I think what he really wants is to keep winning the Champions League and Leagues. And there is the key to the issue. Make a competitive proposal."

Joan Laporta wants Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona and believes he has an advantage over the other presidential candidates.

Messi, 33, is coming out of contract at the end of the season, having sensationally requested to leave Barca ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

Previously president between 2003 and 2010, Laporta is running again, with the election to take place on January 24.

The 58-year-old wants Messi to remain at Barca and feels he has an advantage over the other candidates.

"If I win the elections, I want to make a very competitive proposal and I know he will listen to me. I want him to stay," Laporta told RAC1.

"I have an advantage over others, he knows I've always fulfilled what I said. We have a good relationship, we appreciate each other and we respect each other.

"If I'm the president, I think that there are options to follow."

Sitting fifth in the LaLiga table, Barca have also continually been linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, who left the club in 2017.

But Laporta was unwilling to be drawn into discussing the Brazil international, saying speculation could hurt Ronald Koeman's team.

"Neymar? I won't talk about players during the campaign because it can destabilise the team," he said.

"They are attentive to any history in the environment. I don't want anyone inside to tell me that I'm a destabiliser."

Barcelona visit Real Valladolid in LaLiga on Tuesday.

Barcelona would not attempt to match the offers that Lionel Messi may receive from rival clubs, presidential candidate Joan Laporta has declared. 

Laporta was previously president from 2003 to 2010, overseeing the early years of Messi's career at Camp Nou, and is now seeking a further term at the helm. 

The Catalan giants were plunged into a financial crisis by the coronavirus pandemic and it has meant pay levels have been closely examined, re-thought and restructured. 

Messi is the club's top earner, but as he approaches the end of his contract, which expires in 2021, there are doubts over whether he will renew. 

The club's all-time record scorer wanted to leave before the 2020-21 season and may again tell Barcelona he intends to depart, although Laporta dearly wants the Argentine forward to stay. 

Laporta says other clubs may have more money to tempt Messi, but they do not have the kinship with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner that would make a split so difficult to bear. 

"We will use all our skills to keep Messi with us," Laporta told Radio MARCA. 

"Leo is not only focused about money. It will be a good economic proposal, but we will not reach what other clubs can offer. 

"I have a very good relationship with Leo. He wants Barcelona. I am convinced that he is looking forward to a proposal from the new president. 

"It is going to be based mainly on a competitive squad that can win the Champions League. If I make this proposal, I will fulfil it; I am lucky to have Leo's credibility. 

"Now is not the time to talk about Messi, and for that I have to be president."

Inevitably, however, it is Messi's future which is dominating the elections, because of the clamour among supporters for him to re-sign. He has been linked with a host of teams, most recently Paris Saint-Germain. 

In January, Messi will be free to negotiate with other clubs. For the elections to fall in the same month is a savage twist, and means each candidate will be expected to have not only a stance on Messi's future, but a stance that appeals to club members and to Messi himself. 

It is far from the only matter for each candidate to address, yet it is an unavoidably seismic topic. 

As Laporta told the radio station, Cristiano Ronaldo's move from Real Madrid to Juventus was different because he had already played at Sporting CP and Manchester United, but Messi is a one-club player. 

"Leo's case is singular. He would be one of the few players like Pele who has only played for one team," Laporta said, setting aside Santos legend Pele's time at the New York Cosmos. 

Laporta's campaign took a theatrical turn on Tuesday when he unveiled a giant poster of himself next to Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu home. 

The poster features an image of Laporta and bears the caption: "Looking forward to seeing you again." 

It was a creative stunt that drew the global attention Laporta craved, and he explained it by saying: "Madrid is an electoral zone and we had to come. It was a nice move, from the point of view of good faith. It has a point of irony, it is nice." 

Lionel Messi remains the best player in the world and deserves a big-money contract to reflect that, according to presidential candidate Joan Laporta, who has also backed under-fire head coach Ronald Koeman.

The Argentina international was tipped to join Premier League side Manchester City, managed by former Barca boss Pep Guardiola, after handing in a transfer request following a tumultuous 2019-20 campaign.

He opted to remain in Catalonia, where he has spent his entire career to date, but is out of contract in June and has since been linked with French champions Paris Saint-Germain and Italian giants Inter.

Barcelona's interim president Carlos Tusquets last week made headlines by suggesting the club should have cashed in on Messi due to the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But Laporta, who is in the running to succeed Josep Maria Bartomeu as Barca's next president in January's elections, has taken a different stance and believes Messi is worth every penny he is paid.

"You could argue many reasons for him staying. I prefer to think about what Leo generates, which is a lot – certainly more than his salary may cost," Laporta told Sport. "I'm not just talking about the sporting level, which is already well known. 

"I consider him the best footballer in history. Leo is so much more than just that. In my opinion all players, when they win many titles and generate so much for the club, deserve to be valued accordingly. 

"At least that's how I'll try to make it happen. Leo is, I repeat, the best player in the world and possibly in the history of football. What you have to keep in mind is that he loves Barca and has shown that repeatedly.

"He is a club man and is comfortable at Barcelona and in the city. That is another factor that leads us to think the best thing for us is for the Messi-Barcelona relationship to continue."

However, reiterating comments he previously made, Laporta acknowledged it will take more than money to persuade six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi to sign a contract extension at Camp Nou.

"You have to be imaginative," he said. "Knowing Mess is not guided by money, and I assure you that is the case, we must make a proposal that can convince him Barca has a team capable of winning the Champions League.

"That is essential. It is what will be more valuable to Leo when deciding his future at the end of the season. I am convinced of that.

"Leo and I have a relationship of mutual affection. He knows that whenever I have made him a proposal, it has been fulfilled. Leo knows it and has told me personally he valued that very much. He should finish his career at Barca."

Messi has scored four goals in 10 LaLiga appearances this season and seven in 13 overall, with Koeman leaving the forward out of the squad and his starting line-up on multiple occasions this term.

Barca thrashed Dynamo Kiev 4-0 and Ferencvaros 3-0 in their last two games without Messi involved, though Laporta's fellow presidential candidate Victor Font insisted the 33-year-old's ability cannot be questioned.

"It makes me suffer that there are some Barcelona fans who doubt Messi," he told El Iniestazo. "We have to appeal to justice and think about everything Messi has given us. If we stop and look back, we will never see him again.

"You have to wonder how Messi is to not be at the club he loves the most. Some lose confidence in him but he does not deserve that. If I am named president then Messi will renew at the end of the season."

The future of head coach Koeman has been another hot topic of debate at Camp Nou following Barca's worst start to a LaLiga campaign in 33 years in terms of points accrued after 10 matches.

Koeman is already under increasing pressure, just four months after being named as Quique Setien's successor, but Laporta feels the legendary former player should be given time to get things right.

"He deserves a margin of confidence, not only because of his wisdom at football level, but also because he is a great of Barca," Laporta said.

"As part of the Dream Team, Ronald gave us good memories and his famous goal gave us our first Champions League. He knows what he's doing and you have to give him time.

"He and I can see that the team is improving, but nothing has been achieved yet. I appreciate the courage when it comes to betting on younger players, and I see that the players are once again motivated.

"He has had to deal with many delicate aspects since arriving. He is in the process of getting the team that he wants."

Neymar took a route-one approach to attracting the interest of Lionel Messi, but discretion may be order of the day for Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Moments after coming off the pitch after PSG's 3-1 Champions League win at Manchester United, Neymar said he hoped to be reunited in 2021 with former Barcelona team-mate Messi.

That sparked inevitable debate about how it might happen, should Neymar be serious about that wish.

PSG would appear better placed to sign Messi than Barcelona are equipped to re-sign Neymar, given the Camp Nou great could be available on a free transfer at the end of this season.

To land the Argentine forward - LaLiga's all-time record scorer - would be a remarkable coup for PSG and president Al-Khelaifi.

Speaking to French talk show Touche Pas a Mon Poste, Al-Khelaifi was asked about the possibility of Messi coming to Paris.

"Messi is a Barcelona player. I can't talk about that," replied Al-Khelaifi.

Al-Khelaifi then joked that he was currently in Barcelona but later quashed speculation by stressing he was actually in London.

Neymar was not nearly as diplomatic on Wednesday when he told ESPN: "What I want most is to play with Messi again.

"I want to play with him. I'll let him play in my position if he wants! Next year, we have to play together, for sure."

Neymar's two goals in PSG's win over United took him to 38 in the Champions League in his career. Since his debut in 2013, only Cristiano Ronaldo (79), Robert Lewandowski (60) and Messi (59) have scored more.

He, Messi and Luis Suarez forged a three-pronged attack at Barcelona that was dubbed the MSN forward line, until Neymar left suddenly in 2017 when PSG agreed to meet the €222million buyout clause in his contract.

Suarez departed in September to join Atletico Madrid, leaving Messi as the lone survivor of the three, but even he has signalled a desire to leave.

Barcelona refused to let Messi go on a free transfer at the end of last season, resisting the player's desire to move on, when it appeared Manchester City was his likely destination.

Barca's interim president Carlos Tusquets this week said the club should have sold Messi in the last transfer window due to the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lionel Messi wants more than money at Barcelona, with presidential candidate Joan Laporta insisting the disgruntled superstar craves a competitive team for success.

Messi's future remains an important topic at embattled LaLiga giants Barca after he handed in a transfer request following a tumultuous 2019-20 season.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner was tipped to join Premier League powerhouse Manchester City before opting to remain in Spain, though he has since been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

Barca's interim president Carlos Tusquets said the club should have sold Messi in the last transfer window due to the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But Laporta, who is in the running for the presidential election which takes place on January 24 following Josep Maria Bartomeu's resignation in October, talked up Messi.

"Leo wants Barcelona," former president Laporta – at the helm of Barca from 2003 to 2010 as Messi's career took off – told Radio Marca and COPE.

"What I want is to give him back his happiness. It's not just a question of money, you have to create a competitive team.

"Leo has been cheated and that is a big loss. He's a winner and can't stand to see other teams lift the Champions League.

"The last time I spoke to him was in October. I am very grateful to him for all he has done for Barcelona. I have known him since he was 16 years old and he is an extraordinary person.

"There is mutual appreciation and respect. We must be inside [the club] to make an imaginative and credible proposal to him."

Messi has scored four goals in nine LaLiga appearances this season, while he has netted seven across all competitions.

"Leo wants to have a squad that brings back the joy," Laporte added.

"A team like Barcelona needs team spirit in a dressing room. I've been president of Barcelona and I don't want to destabilise a team in a delicate situation."

After being dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid last season and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, Ronald Koeman's Barca are seventh in LaLiga and 10 points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad.

Barca travel to Cadiz on Saturday.

Barcelona have been put in an awkward place by Neymar's revelation that he wants to play with Lionel Messi next season, with presidential candidate Joan Laporta unsurprised by the Brazilian's comments.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, who left Barcelona when his buy-out clause of €222million was met three years ago, made his stunning comments after scoring twice at Manchester United on Wednesday.

He told ESPN: "What I want most is to play with Messi again. I want to play with him. I'll let him play in my position if he wants! Next year, we have to play together, for sure."

Barcelona's finances, hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, are such that launching a big-money bid to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou appears out of the question.

Messi's contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and after being refused permission to leave just a few months ago, there are concerns the Argentinian will again seek to find a new home.

PSG could become an option, should Messi be as keen to reunite with Neymar as the Brazilian is to be reacquainted with his former Barca team-mate.

Candidates for the presidency are unlikely to dismiss out of hand the prospect of Neymar returning to Barcelona, given that making such a statement might prove unpopular, while they are also sure to handle carefully the hot topic that is Messi's future.

Laporta, a former Barca president seeking a return to office, suggested Neymar's remarks were nothing out of the ordinary.

"It is normal for him to say it, they are friends and have an established understanding between them. This relationship is normal," Laporta told Catalunya Radio.

"I hope that Leo can wait and listen to the proposal of the new Barcelona president."

The presidential election will take place on January 24 following the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu in October.

Laporta, who was at the helm of the club from 2003 to 2010 as Messi's career took off, is considered among the favourites to succeed Bartomeu.

He hopes Messi commits to ending his career with Barcelona, saying: "We have contact with Leo, I know he appreciates me, we respect each other, but we have not talked about the renewal.

"Messi guarantees you to aspire to be able to win everything. I want him to stay at Barca."

Laporta said he did not want to "destabilise" Ronald Koeman's team by talking about specific players that could come to the club, should he be elected.

But he did say: "I have a good relationship with several of the big agents in the football world. They have great players in their portfolio.

"If I am the president of Barca, I am sure that we will return the joy and give good players the chance of imagining they can play for Barca. The good guys will want to come and play here."

Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font and former president Joan Laporta have welcomed Lionel Messi's decision to stay at the LaLiga giants. 

The Argentina superstar sent shockwaves through world football last week when he announced he wanted to leave Barca in the wake of the humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

LaLiga disputed Messi's claim that he could leave on a free transfer courtesy of a clause in his contract, though, and insisted any potential suitor would have to negotiate with Barca or pay the €700million release clause in his contract, with his option to leave for nothing having expired on June 10.

That resulted in Messi confirming on Friday that he would remain at Camp Nou because the option of a free transfer was no longer available. 

Font, who is the only official candidate for the presidency as things stand, previously said the prospect of Messi leaving the club gave him "nightmares".

He took to social media to express his pleasure at Messi's decision, highlighting his comment about a lack of direction at the club alongside a picture of the talismanic forward with Xavi, his former team-mate, who Font is expected to install as head coach if he becomes president. 

In response to Messi saying "there has been no project for a long time and there is nothing, they are juggling and covering holes," Font said: "Only with a solid project, well worked out, will we overcome future challenges. We rebuild Barca. Yes to the future!"

Laporta, who previously held Barca's presidency between 2003 and 2010 and is expected to officially throw his hat into the ring for next year's election in the coming months, described the 33-year-old's decision as "wise".

He posted on Twitter: "Magnificent Leo, wise decision, very well explained. And now to continue fighting to win again and continue making history. Today Messi has given more joy to Barcelona fans!"

Barcelona's new president will be elected in March 2021.

Joan Laporta plans to enter the Barcelona presidential elections next year and wants Pep Guardiola to return if he is successful.

Laporta spent seven years as Barca president before stepping down in 2010.

A decade after relinquishing power at Camp Nou, the 57-year-old has set his sights on succeeding Josep Maria Bartomeu in 2021.

Laporta promoted an inexperienced Guardiola to the role of first-team coach in 2008 and that proved to be a masterstroke.

If Laporta has his way, the Manchester City boss will return to Catalonia.

He told Catalan station TV3: "I'm working to introduce myself as a presidential candidate.

"I've been president before and I'm excited to be back. The situation in 2021 will be dramatic and we'll have to reverse it. I'm working with people I trust."

He added: "I would very much like Guardiola to come back, but now he is at City and it is a decision that Pep should take. He is a benchmark for Barcelona and many Catalans would like him to train Barca again.

"At the right time, I will speak to the person we think should be a Barca coach from 2021."

Laporta suggested it may be too early for Xavi to take the Barca hotseat, which was only filled by Quique Setien in January.

He said: "Xavi is already a coach, he lives by football and it is he who must decide what his moment is.

"In 2021 there will still be players [at Barca] who were Xavi's team-mates, and he must think if he is prepared to lead former team-mates, which is not an easy thing."

Laporta added of the former Spain midfielder: "He is an honest man, he knows a lot about football and he will make the right decision, he will know what his time is to train Barca. I have not talked about Xavi on these issues."

Lionel Messi will "have no trouble" signing a contract extension at Barcelona, according to the club's former president Joan Laporta.

Messi's future at Camp Nou has been a talking point amid turmoil at Barcelona, where the star is contracted until 2021.

The Argentina international can leave the LaLiga giants for free at the end of any season, sparking even further speculation over his future.

But former Barca president Laporta, who is expected to run again next year, said it would be easy for Messi to re-sign.

"[Messi] will have no trouble renewing his contract," he told Deportes Cuatro on Wednesday.

A player linked with a reunion with Messi at Barcelona is Neymar, who left the club for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

Laporta said he would bring the Brazil international back to Camp Nou, where he starred for four seasons before his departure.

"They were not clear with him," he said.

"I would bring him back for sure."

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