BARCELONA – Víctor Font is “convinced” that Lionel Messi will renew his contract with FC Barcelona if he is elected a new president in the elections that will take place on January 24.
The candidate, who attended ESPN exclusively to review his electoral program, believes that the presence of Xavi Hernández as leader of his new sports project can help convince Messi to sign a renewal that he considers “strategic” and “priority” for the future of the Catalan entity.
“I am convinced that with a competitive project, with a project that will once again excite Barcelona, and especially in the case of Messi, with a project that is long-term, that it can even go beyond the day it is withdraw, I think we can convince you. I am convinced, ”Font told ESPN when asked if he fears for the departure of the Argentine striker.
“Without a doubt the best player in the history of the number one sport in the world, which is soccer, and imagine what that means. That is why we say that the Messi-Barça, Barça-Messi association is so strategic and that everything possible must be done to ensure that this association lasts over time. “
Font did not want to promise big signings during his interview with ESPN due to the precarious economic situation of the club, but he has in the figure of Xavi one of his main weapons to try to win the elections. The legendary Barcelona midfielder played more than 10 seasons alongside Messi and Font believes that his role may be key for the Argentine to decide to continue at Camp Nou.
“(Xavi) It is one of the most important pieces of the sports project that we have designed for the coming years. Logically the fact that Messi and Xavi know each other (is good). That Xavi generate credibility in Messi. I know that Messi welcomes the leadership that Xavi can exercise, because it sure adds up to a lot, ”Font said. “Here, what is relevant, both in the case of Messi and in the case of returning the illusion to Barcelona, and above all getting out of the complicated situation we have at all levels is the whole project. He is not a name, he is not a coach … he is the whole structure, “Font remarked.
The candidate acknowledges that he has not yet entered into conversations with Messi or with those around him in this regard, but admits that calling the Argentine will be one of the first tasks on his agenda if he is elected president on January 24.
“Without a doubt it is one of the priorities we have for the first 100 days of government where there are many things to do. Logically the sports part is one, but there is also the entire economic part, the institutional one. But taking into account that as of January he can negotiate with any other team, calling Messi has to be one of the priorities ”, declared Font.
Barcelona has been one of the clubs most affected by the coronavirus and had to reduce its budget by 231 million euros to stay at 828 million.
Font is aware that the club is “on the verge of economic bankruptcy” and acknowledges that it will be difficult to match the record of a Messi who today charges around 100 million euros per season. “Messi, above all, is a person who loves Barça a lot and secondly, what he wants is to win. Logically, being the best in the world and the best in history, he is going to have to be compensating and rewarded competitively. But I think that his priorities are in competing and winning, “Font pointed out, and later added:” This (his record) is one of the realities that must be adjusted. You have to understand that the level of income both in the very short term and even for next year are still a bit in the air, depending on what happens with the return of the fans to the stadium. Based on this, the income statement and the wage bill must be structured consistently. Once we clear that variable we will know what the club can afford, “he acknowledged. “It is clear that Messi is a culé and loves Barça as all the partners do. He has been here for many years, since he was 13 years old and I am sure that regardless of what he wants to do to keep winning, his passion and love for the club is above all ”, he continued.
In one way or another, Font is so convinced that Messi will remain at Barcelona that he does not even consider the possibility that the Argentine refuses to listen to his renewal proposal. “At first I do not value this possibility because I am convinced that you will want to hear what the new president and the new board can offer and from there I am convinced that we have a project that will convince you”, concluded Font.