The Catalan businessman is convinced the Argentine can stay at the club and help usher in a new era of success
Barcelona’s new era without Lionel Messi doesn’t need to start immediately, but a clear plan needs to be made for life after the Argentine great, presidential candidate Victor Font has said.
Messi will forever be a legend at Camp Nou given his sensational career which has seen him become both Barca and La Liga top scorer of all time.
But the 33-year-old was part of a well-documented transfer saga at the end of the season, in part due to a difficult relationship with incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu. And while a departure ultimately did not materialize, speculation continues to tie Messi to an exit when his contract expires in June.
Ask by AS the goals for life after Messi, Font replied, “Maintain the ownership model and continue to earn titles.” That is, to be competitive by having the club owned by the members when this winning generation no longer exists. “
But Font disagreed with the suggestion that it is already time to open a new dawn without Messi.
“Not at all. In fact, our goal is for Leo to continue to be and continue to lead the team on the pitch as long as he wants to keep playing, ”Font added.
“When we were talking about Barca after Messi, surely the best way to define him is Barca’s unique generation of footballers. And that doesn’t happen overnight.
“There was Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Carles] Puyol, [Gerard] Prick, [Sergio] Busquets… and this transition doesn’t happen overnight, it happens over time.
“This is why it is essential to have a project and to be clear on how to do it. That’s what Messi told us in August, there is no plan here, they are faltering, fixes are being put in place. It was his frustration. ”
Messi caused a stir when, in the aftermath of Barca’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last season, he revealed his desire to move on.
Another recent interview with Messi saw him express his frustrations at the time and did not categorically affirm his commitment beyond this season.
But Font was encouraged by what he heard, adding: “[I took it] positively, because it is consistent with what we have explained.
“In the short term, this confirms that if there is a high level sports project, it can continue. And another, that he openly expresses the desire to make what is so strategic for us a reality. And that the Messi-Barca alliance becomes long in time. “
Barca’s financial situation has come under close scrutiny given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Font did not specifically say Messi would have to take a pay cut if he stayed at Barca, but said some top earners will need to be sold and other contracts renegotiated to resolve their money issues.
“We know that the economic situation is very critical and that is why a shock plan has been prepared as part of the government plan which includes both the refinancing of short-term debt, because there is no ‘money to pay, and restructuring expenses and salary. bill, ”he said.
“In other words, next year we won’t have enough income to pay the current staff. You have to change, renew the models. We will have to sell players with high salaries, bring in players who charge less, renegotiate contracts. It is part of this 100 day government plan. ”
As part of his plan, Font has underlined his desire to bring in big club Xavi as general manager and Jordi Cruyff as sports director. Along with Xavi, Font said the goal must be to avoid a situation like that of Pep Guardiola, who ultimately looked for challenges away from Camp Nou.
“We think that in the case of Xavi, Barca have a unique advantage. A person who has unique talent, abilities, ”he said.
“We have to create the conditions to prevent ourselves from having another Pep Guardiola affair with Xavi, who trains, empties himself and leaves because he wants to continue coaching elsewhere.
“We have to make sure that in the next ten or fifteen years, to say the least, Xavi is part of the club’s sporting project. And in that role of CEO, he could have that responsibility. ”