Lionel Messi is reportedly open to staying at Barcelona, but the LaLiga giants have work to do.

Messi, 33, stayed at Barca after sensationally requesting to leave ahead of this season.

But the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is out of contract at the end of the campaign, leading to more talk over his future.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI OPEN TO BARCELONA STAY

Messi is open to staying at Barcelona and is prioritising the sporting project over the economic offer, according to Marca.

The report says Barca strengthening their squad could convince Messi, who has been linked to Manchester City.

Signing City forward Sergio Aguero, Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, Chelsea's N'Golo Kante or Liverpool's Roberto Firmino would help Barca's position in their bid to re-sign the superstar.

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- With Real Madrid linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, such a deal could lead to questions over Eden Hazard. AS reports Mbappe joining Madrid could lead to an exit for Hazard, who has struggled with injuries since joining the LaLiga giants.

- Staying at Real Madrid and there is uncertainty over Raphael Varane's future. AS reports Madrid are prepared to listen to offers for Varane ahead of next season if they cannot agree to a new deal with the defender, who is out of contract in 2022. Manchester United have been linked with Varane, who is valued at £60.7million (€70m).

- Harry Kane has again starred for Tottenham this season. The Telegraph reports the forward, who is contracted until 2024, is set to stay at Spurs for at least another campaign.

- Amid suggestions Sevilla defender Jules Kounde is too expensive, Manchester United could look elsewhere. Eurosport reports Villarreal's Pau Torres may be a more realistic target due to his reported release clause of around £43m (€49.6m).

- Alexandre Lacazette seems set for an Arsenal exit. The Mirror reports Monaco are targeting the forward ahead of next season.

Neymar remains on schedule with his recovery from injury and has been boosted by his return to individual training, Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino said.

The world's most expensive footballer suffered an adductor injury against Caen in the Coupe de France on February 10.

A four-week lay-off was predicted, potentially allowing for a return against former club Barcelona in the Champions League on March 10.

However, PSG won the first leg 4-1 thanks to a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick, easing the pressure on Neymar ahead of his comeback.

The Brazil superstar has only appeared in 18 of PSG's 35 games in all competitions this season and their win rate has actually improved from 66.7 per cent with the forward to 70.6 per cent when he has been absent.

But Neymar has still been involved in 17 of the 33 goals PSG have scored with him on the pitch in 2020-21; his 13 goals and four assists have him rank second only to Mbappe - 21 goals and nine assists for 30 involvements - among Parisian players this term.

Pochettino will certainly relish having Neymar back in the fold and detailed his progress on Friday ahead of the weekend clash with Dijon.

"Ney follows the protocol that the medical staff have established for him," the coach told a news conference.

"He has started running again on the field and he has done individual physical exercises, not with the team.

"He is in a very good state of mind. He is happy. He is on schedule for his return and, until then, everything is under control."

PSG head to Dijon third in the table and four points off the pace, unable to afford another setback having lost to Monaco last Sunday.

That was their sixth league defeat this term, their most across a single campaign since 2010-11 (eight), the season prior to Qatar Sports Investments' lucrative takeover.

PSG will have to improve in the final third against Dijon, having mustered only a single shot on target at home to Monaco, but will have to cope without the talents of Marco Verratti.

The midfielder, who played 35 minutes as a substitute last week, in which time he played 38 passes in the Monaco half, sustained a knock in training.

"The team lacked freshness and therefore creativity against Monaco," Pochettino said, with Verratti having started from the bench after sparkling as he assisted Mbappe's first goal at Camp Nou.

"In Barcelona, ​​we had been good in this area. In Dijon, we will find solutions and the players on the pitch will be up to the task."

PSG will also be without Mauro Icardi (gastroenteritis), Alessandro Florenzi (adductor) and Leandro Paredes (suspension).

Paris Saint-Germain are getting close to a decision over a new deal for Kylian Mbappe, the club's sporting director Leonardo has revealed.

The Frenchman, who has scored 90 goals in just 100 appearances for PSG since arriving from Monaco in 2017, will be one year out from the expiry of his contract when the current season comes to a close.

As such, in the event that new terms cannot be agreed, PSG would need to sanction a transfer this close-season if they are to avoid losing Mbappe for free.

However, Leonardo remains relaxed about ongoing discussions, even if he admitted that a conclusion will need to be reached soon.

"On Kylian Mbappe's contract, we've been talking for a long time," the Brazilian told France Bleu.

"Before, it was mainly to be clear about our position and what we want. There, I think we are getting to the point where we must take a position and a decision.

"We have a good opening of dialogue."

Like Mbappe, Neymar is also less than 18 months out from the expiry of his deal with the French champions.

Leonardo is keen to find a resolution on that front, too, and hopes to find an agreement with Angel Di Maria and Juan Bernat over new terms.

He added: "Neymar, it is on the right track, but in the end, he decides after the signing and it is not yet the case.

"We arrive at the right time I think, same thing for Di Maria and Bernat. These are the four issues we are discussing. 

"The idea is to get there as quickly as possible, because on our side, we have the intention to renew all four."

Ligue 1 winners in seven of the last eight seasons, PSG currently sit in third place, four points off the pace set by leaders Lille and a point behind second-placed Lyon.

On the thrilling race that awaits, Leonardo said: "We will surely have an exciting end to the season. 

"Paris is one of the favorites to win the title: we are not going to say that we do not think of winning and that we do not feel in the conditions to do so. 

"After, if we look at the last days, Lyon, Lille and Monaco have a very important winning streak. But the ambition and the objectives remain the same."

What does the future hold for Andre Silva?

Silva has scored 18 Bundesliga goals this season, second only to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

He could find himself at Manchester United if Eintracht Frankfurt reportedly pursue a permanent deal for Luka Jovic.

 

TOP STORY – SILVA BOUND FOR MANCHESTER?

Manchester United could be offered the chance to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Andre Silva if Edinson Cavani leaves Old Trafford, according to The Sun.

Silva is taking the Bundesliga by storm this season, but Eintracht are reportedly looking to raise funds to re-sign Luka Jovic – who is currently on loan in Frankfurt – permanently from Real Madrid.

Portugal international Silva could become available if veteran forward Cavani departs after the former Paris Saint-Germain star arrived on a one-year deal at the start of the season.

 

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- Eurosport claims Chelsea are growing increasingly confident of winning the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. The Norway international forward has been linked with Madrid, BarcelonaManchester City, Liverpool and United, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

Everton have joined United and Bayern Munich in trying to sign Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Tottenham will target Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope if PSG make a move for Hugo Lloris, says the Daily Mail.

- The Sun claims United veteran Juan Mata is being tracked by Serie A trio, Juventus, Inter and Roma.

Ronald Koeman is unwilling to discuss possible moves for Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland amid potential financial investment into Barcelona, depending on the identity of the club's next president. 

Toni Freixa, who is one of the three remaining candidates in the running for the role ahead of the election on March 7, has revealed he has reached an agreement with an investor that will make significant funds available. 

Speaking to RAC1, Freixa said the €250million injection is lined up to seal the addition of three "superstars" to the squad, of which two will be in attack. 

However, while waiting to see who will take over the presidential role, Koeman's only concern is on the current players at his disposal, rather than big-money signings for next season and beyond. 

"I don't know if this is true because until I talk to the new president, I can't say anything. I don't know," Koeman said on Tuesday. 

"We have to wait until we know who the new president is. He will be the one who will have to decide the future of the coach, the team [and] see what possibilities there are.  

"I'll wait until March 8 [the day after the election]."

Ahead of Barcelona's LaLiga game with Elche on Wednesday, Koeman was unsurprisingly asked about two obvious names that would meet the criteria laid out by Freixa, who said those lined up to join are "unique players".

Barca saw up close the talents of Mbappe when he scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 Champions League triumph for Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou, while Haaland has 27 goals already this season in all competitions. 

"This is not the time to talk about the other players," Koeman replied when asked about the young forward duo. 

"We are playing important games, and this could be the future of the club, or of a new president. We have to focus on our business.  

"These upcoming games are very decisive, and we are concentrating on this, which is the most important thing."

Barcelona head into the game against Elche looking to bounce back quickly from Sunday's surprise 1-1 home draw with Cadiz.

They have not lost any of their previous 16 meetings with Elche in LaLiga (W12 D4), keeping a clean sheet in the past nine. Lionel Messi has scored four goals in three matches against them in league action, an average of 1.33 per game.

Sergio Aguero is being targeted by four European giants, while Bayern Munich are looking at Christian Pulisic.

Aguero, 32, is out of contract with Manchester City at the end of the season and his future is uncertain.

The forward has only played nine games this season, but he is still wanted by several European clubs.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, JUVENTUS CHASE AGUERO

Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter are interested in signing Aguero, according to the Mirror.

Aguero has been at City since 2011 and is the club's all-time leading goalscorer.

The Argentina international has struggled with injury and coronavirus this season.

 

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- Another player who has battled injuries this season is Pulisic. Todofichajes.com reports Bayern Munich have contacted Chelsea about a possible move for the former Borussia Dortmund star.

- Juventus want to keep Alvaro Morata. Goal reports the Serie A side are keen to extend the forward's loan for another season and are prepared to pay Atletico Madrid €10million.

- Barcelona seem set to sign a forward ahead of next season. ESPN reports the LaLiga giants have intensified their interest in Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak.

- Struggling for game time at Manchester United, Dean Henderson could make a move. Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham are interested in the goalkeeper, according to the Manchester Evening News.

- Hector Bellerin may leave Arsenal. CBS Sports reports the full-back is eager to test himself away from the Premier League club and Paris Saint-Germain are ready to revive their interest.

Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and now Manchester United are all reportedly chasing Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Days out from his 22nd birthday, Donnarumma has reportedly closed a deal with the Red Devils.

Is David de Gea's future in doubt?

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS SWOOP FOR RECORD-BREAKER

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has agreed to a provisional deal with Manchester United, according to Todo Fichajes.

The report claims the deal would make the Italy star the best paid goalkeeper ever in world football.

United have had goalkeeping issues this season, with number one keeper David de Gea making a number of errors, while understudy Dean Henderson has made a handful of appearances.

Donnarumma, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Thursday, became the youngest player in Serie A history to reach 200 appearances in Sunday's 3-0 derby defeat to leaders Inter.

The 21-year-old's current deal with the Rossoneri expires at the end of this season and he has been linked with a host of clubs including Serie A champions Juventus, Champions League holders Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Marco Verratti acknowledged Paris Saint-Germain are "starting to lose a lot of opportunities" to retain the Ligue 1 title after their 2-0 home defeat to Monaco.

Five days after their thrilling 4-1 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League, PSG crashed to a damaging loss at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

The defeat is the second of Mauricio Pochettino's tenure and leaves PSG third in Ligue 1, two points ahead of Monaco, in fourth, and four behind leaders Lille.

It means PSG remain winless in their four games against the other sides currently in Ligue 1's top-four positions this season, losing 3-2 and 2-0 to Monaco, 1-0 at home to Lyon and drawing 0-0 at Lille.

Verratti, outstanding against Barca, came on as a 55th-minute substitute in Paris, going on to attempt 43 passes – with an accuracy of 81.4 per cent – and create one chance.

"It was a difficult match; they have very good players, we knew it. It's the kind of match you have to win," Verratti told Canal+. "We are starting to lose a lot of opportunities for the title.

"We concede a goal after five minutes, that can't happen. We have to understand that there are great teams in France.

"We must always play as a team; no one gives us gifts, the other teams are playing the game of their lives against us.

"You have to rise to the occasion, deserve it, play 100 per cent, because otherwise you won't win."

After scoring a hat-trick against Barca, Kylian Mbappe turned in a disappointing performance against his former club.

Since he joined PSG in 2017, Mbappe has scored seven goals against Monaco in Ligue 1; he has only found the net more often against Dijon (nine) in the top-flight during that period.

However, he failed to shine on Sunday. The 22-year-old did not register an attempt on goal and created just one chance.

Pochettino refused to pin the defeat on Mbappe, though.

"In football there are many situations, different opponents, different circumstances," Pochettino told a news conference.

"Football is not mathematical. We weren't at the level today to win at the collective level, not just Kylian. If we have to find a responsible, it's me."

Paris Saint-Germain crashed back to earth with a bump after their Champions League heroics as they suffered a 2-0 Ligue 1 defeat to Monaco on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino's side claimed a stunning 4-1 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday, but they never looked like scaling those heights as they slumped to a sixth league defeat of the season.

Sofiane Diop's sixth goal of the campaign handed Monaco an early lead before Guillermo Maripan put the game beyond the hosts' reach shortly after the interval.

The result means third-placed PSG are four points behind leaders Lille, who beat Lorient 4-1 earlier in the day, with Niko Kovac's Monaco two points back in fourth.

Monaco went ahead after just six minutes, Diop heading past Keylor Navas from six yards after Kevin Volland nodded Ruben Aguilar's cross into his path.

That did little to spark PSG into life, and the home team struggled to carve out any clear opportunities in the first half.

The closest they came was when Idrissa Gueye's powerful drive from distance flashed past Benjamin Lecomte's right-hand post.

Things did not get any better for PSG after the interval as Maripan dispossessed Ander Herrera in the penalty area before slotting a fine finish past Navas from 15 yards to double Monaco's advantage in the 51st minute.

Volland inexplicably headed wide from four yards soon after, but it mattered little in the end as Monaco held on to stretch their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to 11 games.


What does it mean? PSG slump against top-four opposition... again

The swashbuckling side that demolished Barca in midweek was nowhere to be seen at the Parc des Princes as PSG - who managed just one shot on target - suffered a first home defeat in Ligue 1 since Lyon triumphed in the capital on December 13.

Indeed, the defending champions are now winless in their four games against the other sides in the league's top four positions this season. That does not bode well for Pochettino's chances of sealing his first title win as head coach.

Aguilar epitomises Monaco display

Aguilar was at the heart of everything good about Monaco’s fine win. His cross led to Diop’s opener – one of a team-high two key passes – while he made three clearances and three interceptions.

Herrera well off the pace

The former Manchester United midfielder endured a game to forget and it was little surprise to see him hauled off before the hour mark. He was at fault for Monaco's second goal and failed to register a single shot or key pass during his time on the pitch.

What's next?

PSG will hope to return to winning ways when they visit Dijon on Saturday, while Monaco host Brest a day later.

Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

Europe's elite are lining up to sign Erling Haaland, but who will he join?

Whoever it is, Haaland is set to command a mammoth contract.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND ASKING FOR LUCRATIVE DEAL

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland wants a contract in the region of £78million (€90m) as speculation intensifies over his future, according to the Daily Star.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga side Dortmund, linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

The report claims Haaland wants a five-year deal worth around £300,000 (€346,000) per week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Should Kylian Mbappe leave for Madrid, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain want to replace him with Tottenham star Harry Kane, claims the Mirror.

- Bild says Chelsea, Liverpool and United are interested in signing RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. His centre-back partner Dayot Upamecano is set to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season, having been linked with the Premier League's elite.

Liverpool are preparing a £40m bid for Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, reports Football Insider. Jurgen Klopp is desperate to bolster his injury-hit defence amid a difficult 2020-21 campaign.

- The Daily Mail says United are considering a move for Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite. The 18-year-old defender has impressed since joining the Toffees.

Leipzig lead the race to sign Ajax sensation Brian Brobbey, according to Diario AS. United, Milan and Bayern have also been linked.

Milan and Inter target Odilon Kossounou – who plays for Club Brugge - is also wanted by Premier League duo Arsenal and Wolves, claims The Sun.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus are eyeing Leicester City winger Timothy Castagne, who arrived from Atalanta at the start of the season.

Former France international Yohan Cabaye has announced his retirement at the age of 35.

The midfielder had not made a competitive appearance since starting for Saint-Etienne in a defeat to Lyon on March 1, 2020.

Cabaye posted on Twitter: "It is with great emotion that after more than 17 years of passionate love for football, with emotions greater than any other, memories that will remain forever and unforgettable human and sporting encounters, I announce the end of my professional football career.

"If this decision may seem obvious, logical and inevitable to some, having spent 35 years in the world of football, it remains very difficult to take and to accept because my love for football is immense."

Cabaye debuted with Lille in 2005 and won a Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double in his final season with the club in 2010-11.

His performances over his final two campaigns with Lille, in which he scored 18 goals, provided 18 assists and created 140 chances across 90 games in all competitions, earned international recognition and a move to the Premier League with Newcastle United.

Cabaye quickly found his feet in England, scoring five goals and delivering six assists in his debut season as Newcastle fell just short of Champions League qualification.

His form attracted the attention of Arsenal, but Cabaye failed to force through a move in August 2013 and instead enjoyed one of the most productive spells of his career as he scored seven times and laid on a pair of assists in 20 games before departing for Paris Saint-Germain in January 2014.

Two further Ligue 1 triumphs followed, along with success in the Coupe de France and twice in the Coupe de la Ligue, but he failed to establish himself as a regular starter in Paris.

Just 30 of his 57 PSG appearances came from the start and he soon left for Crystal Palace, spending a further three years back in the Premier League before ending his career with Al-Nasr and finally Saint-Etienne.

Cabaye played for his country on 48 occasions, scoring four times.

His first international goal came against Ukraine at Euro 2012 and he was a regular again at the World Cup two years later. France's home European Championship in 2016, where they reached the final, saw Cabaye appear only twice and once as a starter.

Zinedine Zidane enjoyed watching Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland in Champions League action, though he refused to be drawn over his preference amid links to Real Madrid.

Mbappe lit up the start of the knockout stages of the European competition with a hat-trick for Paris Saint-Germain against Madrid's domestic rivals Barcelona on Tuesday, helping the French club record an outstanding 4-1 triumph at Camp Nou.

Just 24 hours later, Haaland continued his astonishing scoring exploits in the Champions League, becoming the fastest player to reach 10 goals for one club as he struck twice for Borussia Dortmund in a 3-2 victory away to Sevilla in the last 16.

Both young forwards have been rumoured as transfer targets for Madrid, so it was hardly surprising they were a topic of discussion for Zidane during his pre-match media conference ahead of Saturday's LaLiga trip to Real Valladolid.

Asked for his assessment of fellow Frenchman Mbappe, he replied: "I think the performance he put in earlier this week was marvellous. 

"I loved seeing what he did because we know each other from France.

"It's very good for football, I watched the game as a fan. I had a very good time watching it. He has a lot of good movement, a lot of good play."

French media has claimed Mbappe has been offered a new long-term deal to remain at PSG. The 22-year-old's current contract runs until 2022, which is the same year Haaland can leave Dortmund for €75million (£65m), according to a reported agreement with the Bundesliga club.

Madrid head coach Zidane, however, was not interested in revealing which of the duo he ranked higher.

"Like I said, what I like is just watching football. I just like watching good football, good players on the pitch," he said. 

"Two tremendous players, for now and the future. That's it. I'm not going to say who I prefer over the other. Everyone has their opinion."

The continued rise of Mbappe and Haaland as superstars has led to suggestions they can step in and become the next great pairing, taking over from the longstanding rivalry between Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

"They are quality players both of them, just like Messi and Cristiano," Zidane said. "Neymar, all these world class players, they're just like them.

"They're younger, they're demonstrating they are not just players for the future but players for the present."

 

Manchester City are counting the cost of the current financial climate and have slashed the budget assigned to lure Lionel Messi away from Barcelona.

The 33-year-old Barca captain could depart his boyhood team in the 2021 off-season after publicly trying, and failing, to force an exit from the Catalan club last August.

A reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City has been the subject of much speculation, but Messi may have to compromise to make the move happen as the Premier League leaders' bargaining power has taken a hit.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FORCED TO LOWER MESSI CONTRACT OFFER

City had already tabled a five-year contract designed to tempt Messi to switch LaLiga for the Premier League – but the numbers have now changed, reports The Sun.

A package worth £600million (€693m) had reportedly been prepared in order to tie the six-time Ballon d'Or winner down for the rest of his career, should he opt to leave Barca at the end of the season.

But The Sun says City will now not match the terms set in August, and the offer has dropped to £430million (€496m), potentially opening the door for Paris Saint-Germain to swoop.

ROUND-UP

Chelsea have already made contact with winger Jonas Hofmann, according to Bild, as the Borussia Monchengladbach exodus threatens to begin following the news that coach Marco Rose is leaving for Borussia Dortmund next season. Hofmann played for Thomas Tuchel at Dortmund.

Milan midfielder Franck Kessie is also in Tuchel's sights, and the Blues could offer Fikayo Tomori to the Serie A giants on a permanent deal as part of a player-plus-cash exchange, reports Il Milanista.

- Everton loanee Moise Kean has netted 14 goals in 25 games for PSG and his parent club will not part with the Italy international for any less than £60m, says Fabrizio Romano, while Juventus want to bring the striker back to Turin, according to Le 10 Sport.

 

Everton 'will demand £70m for Moise Kean transfer' after impressing at PSG https://t.co/3PvjhBQ1rf

— Sun Sport (@SunSport) February 18, 2021

- 'If there are opportunities, I will have a look at them,' is what Wilfried Zaha told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, reports The Sun. The Crystal Palace winger has been previously linked with Arsenal and Tottenham.

- Gunners midfielder Lucas Torreira, currently on the fringes while on loan at Atletico Madrid, is close to securing a move to Fiorentina for next season, claims Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Kylian Mbappe's future is in his own hands after showing the world what he is capable of while scoring a hat-trick in Paris Saint-Germain's 4-1 Champions League demolition of Barcelona.

With his contract in the French capital set to expire in June 2022, Mbappe ultimately has the choice of either signing a new deal or leaving his hometown team – and the World Cup winner has been non-committal so far.

Should the 22-year-old sensation decide to take his career abroad, there will be no shortage of suitors, with four European giants ready to swoop.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MANCHESTER CITY, REAL MADRID, JUVENTUS EYE IN-DEMAND MBAPPE

If PSG cannot persuade Mbappe to sign a long-term extension, they will not want to lose a world-class talent without a fee, so the Ligue 1 champions have placed a €200million (£173m) tag on his head, according to Le Parisien.

Le Parisien reports the price may not deter the Frenchman's admirers, who include Premier League rivals Manchester City and LiverpoolReal Madrid and Juventus.

While those clubs may want him, it is unclear if all of them would be able to afford Mbappe, who is set to make more than €30m per year gross on his next contract. Reports claim PSG will aim to price their Champions League rivals out of a deal.

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).

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