Messi's deal expires on June 30 but there's renewed hope he will now stay at the club
Barcelona president Joan Laporta says talks to extend Lionel Messi's contract beyond June 30 are progressing well but nothing is done yet.
"Contract talks are going well but they're not done yet," Laporta said Friday. "We're working hard, all of the executives here are working hard to make a good proposal that is within our means and we hope he will accept it. Our relationship is very good. Messi loves Barça."
Laporta said other clubs could pay Messi more but that he remains optimistic of getting him to commit at Camp Nou.
"The offer is within Barca's (financial) possibilities," he added. "I am sure he deserves more and could get more elsewhere. I am convinced he appreciates the effort we're making and think he's excited with our sporting project. I always said, it's not a money issue with Leo, it's about winning everything. That's what we're working on. I am moderately optimistic."
What's changed, then, since last August when Messi wanted to walk out on the club?
"Me," Laporta quipped. "I am here and I think Leo likes that. Now he has a president that really wants him to stay. I tell him that and I show him that.
"To all the fans, I would tell them things are going well. It's not done yet. We need to continue so that the renewal can be signed. It's not that Leo is asking me for love or support, it's what we know, that he wants to play for a few more years -- and he wants to win.
"Players want to go to training and enjoy it, enjoy their relationship with the coach... That's what all players want. Leo especially is a player with a big personality who I love very much and he's making a big effort to understand our situation and that we are building a competitive environment around him."
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