There were plenty of questions for Joan Laporta as he sought to explain Lionel Messi's Barcelona exit on Friday.

The morning after the night before, the Blaugrana president faced the media to give the club's stance on the failed contract talks that mean their talisman is heading elsewhere.

Laporta spoke for an hour and 20 minutes and covered a wide range of topics relating to Messi, Barca’s finances and the restrictions in place in LaLiga.

Stats Perform brings you 10 key quotes from an exhaustive news conference...

'The decision is over'

It was a blunt answer. Laporta had not come to the news conference to give Barca fans what he described as "false hope".

"The decision is over," he said. "It's done."

'Leo is not happy'

Nobody involved with Barca is happy with the outcome – including Messi himself.

"Leo wanted to stay, so he's not happy. We all wanted him to stay," Laporta explained. "For him, right now, it's a situation in which he has to confront reality. It is a reality that can't be changed. He knows that I wish him the best wherever he goes, him and his family. Barca is his home. He's enlarged this club's trophy list and we'll always be thankful."

'He tried to make it easy for us'

No blame was laid at the forward's door, with Laporta revealing two separate agreements between player and club – neither of which could work within LaLiga's regulations.

"We've been at it for two months and we've gone through different stages," Laporta revealed. "The first agreement was two years that would be paid in five years. Leo was in agreement with that. He was always present in negotiations and tried to make it easy for us. The first offer was two years of salary to be paid in five, and we thought that would be allowed in the regulations of fair play, but the criteria of cash came into play. It's not allowed here where it is in other countries. It's all part of a process.

"LaLiga also had its pressure because there are other clubs that want regulations and rules to be abided by.

"Then we agreed to a five-year contract, which was also accepted by Leo, even though we were all thinking of two more years. We all agreed: two years and, if he wanted more, we could sit and talk about it. We wanted the era post-Messi, the one we start today, to start in two years. Taking into account the circumstances, we've had to bring that forward. We all wanted to enjoy his talent, his magic playing at Barca, but at the moment it can't be. When we did the five-year contract that we thought would be allowed – and I had insinuated that this would be allowed – a technical analysis by the LaLiga commission found that this contract wouldn't be valid within those regulations."

'I said we would do everything'

Laporta had based much of his election campaign around the idea of keeping Messi at the club, but he did not regret this approach.

"I said this several times: I said that we would do everything possible for Messi to stay at Barca within the economical situation of the club," he said. "We reached an agreement with Messi, we just weren't able to formalise it."

'We don't have any margins'

Indeed, Laporta preferred to take aim at predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu due to the state of the club when he took over.

"We don't have any margin," began Laporta's opening statement. "We knew that when we got to the club, but the numbers that were presented to us after the first audit, and our analysis, those numbers are a lot worse than those exposed initially, which are what we are working with now."

He added: "An investment of that volume with the contract of Messi was risky. We wanted to assume those risks, but when we have realised the real situation at the club after the audit, it means that we would have put the club at great risk."

'They have not given us satisfactory answers'

Bartomeu was not the only individual criticised, though, with Laporta repeatedly highlighting issues with a deal LaLiga have done with CVC Capital Partners, which will see the private equity firm acquire 10 per cent of the league's commercial business for €2.7billion.

LaLiga chief Javier Tebas posted on Twitter during the news conference to query Laporta's suggestion the agreement would impact broadcasting rights.

Informed of the post, Laporta replied: "I will tell you that we do not interpret it that way. In fact, yesterday our senior executives spoke with those who run this operation and they have not given us satisfactory answers. I understand the legal formulas that you articulate, because they are ingenious, but this implies giving up a part of our rights with a horizon of half a century. In addition, I would tell you that the amount set by CVC is much lower than what, for us, the 10 per cent of LaLiga should be valued."

'Those are personal conversations'

Laporta was far more guarded over conversations he might have had with Tebas as LaLiga's best player departs the competition.

"Those are personal conversations," he said. "I can't disclose them."

'The player has had other offers'

Laporta insisted he does not know where Messi will go next, but he suggested there had already been contact from rival clubs.

"During the course of negotiations, we've known that the player has had other offers," he said. "And there was a time limit – both for us, because of LaLiga starting shortly, and for them as well, because he needs some time. As fair play continues to be rigid, the player also needs some time to see what he's going to do and evaluate his situation and look at other options."

Laporta added: "He's the best player in the world and logic takes you to think that he has other very good offers."

'The tribute that Leo Messi deserves'

Messi has been on holiday in Ibiza, while his father flew in for discussions this week, but Barca hope to be able to pay tribute to their legendary number 10 in future.

"The tribute for Leo Messi will be the tribute that Leo Messi wants, whatever he likes, whatever he wants to do," Laporta confirmed. "If it was up to us, we'd pay tribute to Leo Messi every day for what he's done for Barca. With the circumstances we're in right now, in terms of the pandemic, in terms of the economic situation, in terms of the pre-season, that makes it complicated. I hope that one day we can see the tribute that Leo Messi deserves."

'We're starting a new era'

For now, the focus at Camp Nou must be on the new season, with a squad learning to play without their stalwart superstar.

"Everyone was waiting for Leo to go to the dressing room and start training," Laporta said of the squad. "I had to tell them it's not going to happen. We're starting a new era and it has to be successful. They're the protagonists of that. They have to make us proud and they need to prove that we can win without players of the talent of Leo Messi, who's the most talented player in the world."

Barcelona have not ruled out signing a replacement for Lionel Messi despite their financial constraints.

Messi will not return for the 2021-22 season, Barca announced on Thursday, with a new deal unable to fit within LaLiga's salary restrictions.

President Joan Laporta, explaining the collapsed negotiations on Friday, confirmed new recruits Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, Emerson Royal and Memphis Depay could be registered, though.

And despite a desperate financial situation, which Laporta said was "a lot worse than exposed initially", there could yet be a further arrival to help plug the gap left by Barca's greatest ever player.

"No, the first team squad isn't done, isn't closed," the president said. "The market closes on August 31, so lots of things could happen."

Barca already appear well stocked in attacking areas, with Aguero and Depay boosting a forward line that includes Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho.

Martin Braithwaite and Rey Manaj – the Barcelona B striker – have both played and scored for the Blaugrana in pre-season.

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland was also linked early in the transfer window, although the Bundesliga outfit are highly unlikely to accommodate a sale Barca could afford.

Lionel Messi is "not happy" at the failure to agree a new contract with Barcelona, according to Joan Laporta, who signalled the start of a "new era" for the club.

Messi had appeared set to agree fresh terms at Camp Nou after becoming a free agent at the end of last season.

But Barca announced on Thursday "economic and structural obstacles" had prevented them from retaining their greatest ever player, unable to fit his salary within LaLiga's restrictions.

Speaking to the media on Friday, club president Laporta revealed he "made the decision that I had to say this was enough" on Wednesday before a "last conversation" with Messi's father Jorge.

He explained: "What we can't do is just keep prolonging the agony, making things longer."

Asked what Messi had made of the development, Laporta replied: "Leo wanted to stay, so he's not happy. We all wanted him to stay.

"For him, right now, it's a situation in which he has to confront reality. It is a reality that can't be changed.

"He knows that I wish him the best wherever he goes, him and his family. Barca is his home. He's enlarged this club's trophy list and we'll always be thankful."

Laporta has also spoken to the Barca squad, revealing he addressed them in person on Friday to outline a future without their talisman.

"It was very important to do that," he said. "I had already talked to the captains by telephone.

"I thought it was very important, as we reached this point in negotiations with Leo. Everyone was waiting for Leo to go to the dressing room and start training.

"I had to tell them it's not going to happen. We're starting a new era and it has to be successful. They're the protagonists of that.

"They have to make us proud and they need to prove that we can win without players of the talent of Leo Messi, who's the most talented player in the world."

Laporta added: "I think this was an important moment. I saw the captains' faces. I asked them to give extra from themselves.

"I want the team spirit to be high, very strong. The captains need to lead by example. They need to lead the process for this new era.

"We're bringing in these young players who are proving to be very talented, and the new signings, we need to explain to them that Barca is a club of 122 years of history.

"We've gone through different moments, different eras. This is their opportunity now. From north to south, from east to west, they'll have all the support from the club to be successful."

On discussions with head coach Ronald Koeman, Laporta said: "I talked to Ronald. He's a man of the club, a great professional.

"He has the ability to adapt quickly to new situations and he said that, obviously, we're going to go for everything, we're going to go at it.

"Not having a player like Messi will obviously be difficult to replace, but he's motivated.

"He's integrated in the club and he wants this new era to be splendid, to be successful. He and the players need to be protagonists in that."

Lionel Messi already had offers from other clubs after becoming a free agent and Barcelona president Joan Laporta is unwilling to offer "false hope" of a resolution.

Barca sensationally announced on Thursday their greatest ever player would not be returning to the club.

Messi's contract had expired at the end of last season, but a new deal was anticipated ahead of the new campaign, with an announcement reportedly imminent this week.

The tone of reports in Spain changed on Thursday, however, and Barca soon confirmed they were unable to do a deal due to "economic and structural obstacles" as any agreement could not fit within LaLiga's salary restrictions.

Laporta faced the media on Friday and, after an opening statement in which he blamed the developments on the dire financial situation left behind by previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu, he suggested there was no possibility of resurrecting talks with Messi.

"The decision is over," Laporta said. "It's done."

He explained: "I don't want to generate false hope. During the course of negotiations, we've known that the player has had other offers.

"And there was a time limit – both for us, because of LaLiga starting shortly, and for them as well, because he needs some time.

"As fair play continues to be rigid, the player also needs some time to see what he's going to do and evaluate his situation and look at other options.

The suggestion Messi could lower his demands was put to the president, who replied: "Those are all hypothetical situations. They're not real as of today.

"If I'm here today, it's not because of what may or may not happen. I wanted to be here with Leo today. It was the dream of every Cule, but we have to live in the real world.

"I like to dream but we have to live in the reality that this is what happens. I can imagine a lot of things, there are a lot of things I would like to happen, but right now that is not easy."

Asked where he wanted to see Messi play next, Laporta said: "I would like to see Leo Messi play at Barca, but whatever is done is up to him. You have to ask him. I will not answer that."

Pressed on Paris Saint-Germain's potential interest, he added: "I don't know that, but it is always said that they have options."

Barca's salary status has restricted the registration of all new players, which included Messi as a free agent.

But Laporta explained the club's close-season signings – Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, Emerson Royal and Memphis Depay – had agreed to favourable terms Barca could accommodate.

"People ask, 'Why can we sign Kun? Why can we sign Emerson? Why can we sign Memphis?' Because these are players that come to Barca accepting certain conditions in terms of salary," Laporta said. "We have to thank them for that.

"The arrival of one of these players isn't comparable to what it would have meant to formalise those agreements with Leo Messi in terms of fair play."

Asked if all four players could be registered, he added: "Regarding our calculations, yes. If we'd inscribed the deserved salary of Messi, that is obviously different to the salaries we are talking about now.

"I hope there will be no problems, because these players have made an effort."

Barcelona keeping Lionel Messi would have put the club at great risk according to Joan Laporta, who criticised both the previous regime and also LaLiga in a powerful media conference.

The Spanish club sensationally announced on Thursday that Messi would not be continuing at Camp Nou, despite agreeing terms on a new contract.

A short statement revealed how "financial and structural obstacles" made a deal impossible, despite an injection of funds stemming from the league signing an investment and revenue-sharing deal with CVC Capital Partners, who will hold a 10 per cent stake.

Barca joined rivals Real Madrid in denouncing the plan, with Laporta unwilling to mortgage the long-term future of the club by accepting the restructure, even if that meant ruling out retaining Messi.

The club's president also discussed how the Josep Maria Bartomeu regime had created serious financial problems, even greater than he initially thought following a thorough audit.

"We don't have any margin. We knew that when we got to the club, but the numbers that were presented to us after the first audit, and our analysis, those numbers are a lot worse than those exposed initially, which are what we are working with now," Laporta said in his opening statement to the media on Friday.

"That means that the losses are a lot more elevated than expected, we are spending a lot more than we expected and the current contracts mean that we have this salary of great magnitude, allowing us no margin.

"This is all tied to fair play, the financial fair play in LaLiga meant we couldn't fit in the first contract we had agreed to with Lionel Messi.

"In order to have that fair play, Barca had to agree to an operation that would affect the club for the next 50 years, in terms of television rights [the CVC deal].

"That has meant that as I've had to make a decision, I can't make one to affect the club for the next 50 years, the club is over 100 years old, it's above everyone, everything – even the best player in the world, the best player who has been with us for years, and we will always thank him for what he's done for us."

Laporta made clear that Messi had wanted to remain with Barcelona, with reports suggesting the Argentina superstar was willing to take a 50 per cent pay cut.

However, LaLiga president Javier Tebas made clear in recent weeks that the governing body would not relax financial rules just to keep the competition's biggest name.

"The reasons why we have decided to get to this point of negotiations is that there are objective reasons regarding the economical situation of the club," Laporta continued.

"An investment of that volume with the contract of Messi was risky. We wanted to assume those risks, but when we have realised the real situation at the club after the audit, it means that we would have put the club at great risk.

"The salary has a great deal to do with that, after a calamitous situation that was down to the previous board of administrators. If we terminate the current contacts, that also has risks, the only way to have that salary margin right now, was to accept that operation. We can go into details, but it’s an operation that puts at risk the club for the next 50 years.

"We understand we can't do that. Leo wanted to stay at Barca, we wanted him to stay, the fact he wanted to stay was the first step that was made. That was a key factor - he wanted to stay."

Messi's future is unclear as the major European leagues all prepare for the start of a new season. A move to Manchester City was strongly rumoured a year ago when the 34-year-old pushed to leave, though it is unclear if the Premier League champions retain any interest in a deal at this time.

Paris Saint-Germain are the early favourites, with Laporta making clear negotiations are over with Barca as he looks to do what is best for the club in their current circumstances.

"I want to thank everyone who has been in the negotiations during the past few months, with all the little intricacies, there were a lot of aspects to be negotiated as well," Laporta said in closing.

"It needed to be compatible with fair play, be of a certain duration, and after all of this, there comes a moment when you need to say enough.

"You need to analyse it rigorously with a cold head and look at the numbers. In LaLiga, we have to abide by the rules, we feel they could be more flexible but that’s not an excuse. We knew we couldn’t abide by it due to the situation.

"Leo deserves everything – he has proven that he loves Barca, he has his roots here.

"I'm sad, but I'm convinced we've done the best for the club."

Talks between Lionel Messi and Barcelona over a new contract are "progressing adequately", according to Joan Laporta.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi, who has spent his entire senior career at Camp Nou, is now officially a free agent after his Barcelona deal expired at the end of June.

He has been linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain in the past, but the 34-year-old is widely expected to remain with the Blaugrana despite their financial problems.

However, Barca must first reduce their wage bill if they are to comply with LaLiga's financial fair play rules and offer Messi the deal he is holding out for.

Messi's club future is now back in focus after helping Argentina to Copa America success last week and Barca president Laporta remains hopeful terms can be agreed.

"[Messi's renewal] is progressing adequately," he told reporters during the presentation of Mago Pop's show 'Nothing is Impossible'.

"All the Catalans, Barcelona, Catalunya and the entire football world are happy because Leo won the Copa America.

"It is very exciting to see the best player in football history get excited about winning a title like this and he made all of us cry with joy.

"He is very happy, we are all happy. I am happy for Leo who has managed [to win the Copa America], together with his team-mates, and that Argentina are once again in the elite. 

"I am happy for Messi's family, for Argentina, for Barcelona who are recognised, admired and loved for having this bond with Leo."

 

Messi was again hugely influential for Barcelona last season, finishing as LaLiga's top scorer and managing 38 goals and 12 assists across all competitions.

Taking all competitions into account, he created 117 chances for others and netted a goal every 110.32 minutes. 

Full-back Jordi Alba was next on the list of the most chances created for Barca in 2020-21, teeing up 85 goalscoring opportunities.

Despite the speculation surrounding his club future, Messi carried his club form onto the international stage by inspiring Argentina to their first Copa America crown since 1993.

He scored four goals and chipped in with five assists to win his first piece of silverware for his country.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta remains confident Lionel Messi will sign a new deal at the club and insists persuading him to remain at Camp Nou is a straightforward process.  

The Barca legend is entering the final weeks of his current deal, which expires on June 30, and reports have previously suggested he is close to penning a two-year extension.  

However, negotiations have not been completed just yet, but Laporta indicated he is calm about the situation.    

"He wants to stay," said Laporta, speaking at the presentation of the TV3 documentary about Messi.

"I do not contemplate a no. But it isn't easy. We'll do what we can." 

Should Messi prolong his Barca career it would represent a remarkable end to the last 12 months, which saw the 33-year-old send shockwaves through world football by declaring he wanted to leave before agreeing to stay.  

Laporta said: "There is no need to seduce him. He is determined, if there are a series of circumstances, to stay." 

Messi is currently on international duty with Argentina at the Copa America in Brazil, scoring a free-kick in Monday's 1-1 draw with Chile in their tournament opener.  

And Laporta revealed Sergio Aguero, Barcelona’s new recruit following his Manchester City exit, is doing his bit to ensure his Argentina team-mate commits to Barca.  

Laporta said: "Kun Aguero tells him every day: 'Sign that, we will play together.' 

"In economic terms, he [Messi] has made it very easy, but financial fair play is another battleground." 

Messi finished top scorer in LaLiga last season with 30 goals in 35 appearances and is the club's record scorer.

Lionel Messi could spend the latter days of his career at Inter Miami in Major League Soccer – at least, the club's co-owner is "optimistic" such a deal could be arranged.

Messi's future has been shrouded in uncertainly for the best part of a year, with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner attempting to force a departure from Barcelona last August.

While that did not come to fruition, with Messi unwilling to drag the club through the courts in an attempt to exercise an apparent get-out clause, his future has been a constant source of speculation through 2020-21 due to his contract expiring at the end of June.

Barca president Joan Laporta said this month that contract discussions were going well, with Messi seemingly happier at the club since the October resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu and the previous board.

Although a move to Miami would seem unlikely at this juncture regardless of Messi's relationship with Barca, Jorge Mas, co-owner of the MLS side, sees no reason why an agreement would not be possible in the future.

"I am optimistic Messi will play in an Inter Miami shirt because I think it will complete the legacy of the greatest player in our generation and will meet with the ambitions of the owners of Inter Miami to build a world-class team," Mas told the Miami Herald.

Former Real Madrid, Manchester United and England star David Beckham is among the others to own a share of the MLS franchise and also serves as its president.

Mas says he and Beckham have certain ambitions regarding the calibre of player they want to see in Florida, and someone of Messi's reputation fits the bill.

He added: "David and I have been working really hard, we have aspirations of bringing the best players here and Messi is a generational player, arguably the best player of all time."

Jordi Alba is adamant Ronald Koeman deserves at least another season at Barcelona after president Joan Laporta confirmed the Dutchman will be in charge for 2021-22.

Koeman was appointed last August as Quique Setien's successor following a crushing end to 2019-20, which saw Barca demolished 8-2 in the Champions League, the first time they had conceded so many goals in one game since 1946.

After a shaky start to 2020-21, Koeman eventually got Barca looking capable of challenging for the league title as he got the best out of Lionel Messi, who scored 30 league goals to win an eighth Pichichi trophy of his career.

While Barca did go on to win the Copa del Rey, their challenge to Atletico Madrid wilted in the final weeks of the season and they ultimately finished third.

Their tally of 79 points was their lowest total since 2007-08, when they managed 67. Indeed, the last coach to earn 76 or fewer points in his first 38 games with the club was Frank Rijkaard in 2003-04 (72).

With Atletico winning the title and Real Madrid doing so the previous year, it meant Barca have failed to win LaLiga in two successive seasons for the first time since 2008.

Perhaps it was unsurprising to see Koeman's future come under so much scrutiny, but after several weeks of uncertainty – what Laporta called a "reflection period" – the club eventually opted to keep Koeman, which was the right decision in the eyes of Alba.

Speaking to Radio Marca, Alba said: "Ronald has done a great job since he arrived.

"We had been improving throughout the season and he deserved to continue at the club."

The left-back, who is currently away preparing for Euro 2020 with Spain, also saluted Barca's early dealings in the transfer market, with Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia – a national team colleague of Alba – arriving on free transfers from Manchester City.

"The arrivals of Aguero and Eric Garcia seem very good to me," he added. "We already knew Kun [Aguero] in football terms and they [those in the team who know him] have spoken very well of him to me from a human perspective.

"And Eric is a humble boy who wants to learn, and it is good that people from La Masia come back. In the Spain squad we have already seen his quality."

Pep Guardiola believes Ronald Koeman deserves to stay on as Barcelona boss for another season.

Koeman admitted it was a relief to see speculation over his future as Barca head coach ended last week when president Joan Laporta confirmed he would remain in charge for the 2021-22 season.

It followed a period where Laporta sought out other potential candidates while Koeman remained in his post, with some controversy when the president was criticised by the head coach's representatives for comments about his health.

The Dutchman led Barca to Copa del Rey glory last season, though fell short in LaLiga and the Champions League, having taken over at a turbulent period that saw Lionel Messi request to leave following a fallout with former president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Luis Suarez controversially sold to eventual champions Atletico Madrid.

Former Barca team-mates Koeman and Guardiola were golfing together with their sons last week, with the Manchester City boss thrilled at Laporta's decision.

"Koeman is the ideal coach for next season, I spoke to Laporta and I am very happy the president is convinced," Guardiola said to Cadena SER.

"I am a good friend of Ronald. It has been a difficult year for everyone and Ronald deserves one more year, with people in the stadium. 

"Besides, second years are always better.

"At times the team has played very well, they are among those who played better football in Spain.

"They fell at the end when he was close to winning and Atletico won the league, but he won the cup and in general were very good."

Guardiola was one of the names briefly connected with the Camp Nou post when Laporta referenced his dream to bring the Catalan back to the club he coached so successfully from 2008 to 2012.

"I have a two-year contract at Manchester, I'm happy and so it will continue to be," said Guardiola.

He recently saw one of his top young prospects and an experienced stalwart swap City for Barca after the Catalans signed Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero on free transfers.

Guardiola had warm words for both players, predicting Garcia to become a future Camp Nou star.

"Aguero and Eric Garcia are two great signings - Kun is a scorer," said Guardiola. 

"With Eric I will tell Koeman that he has a spectacular fit, he is a good guy, really intelligent. He will be one of the captains of the next decade."

Ronald Koeman admits it was a relief to see speculation over his future as Barcelona head coach ended this week.

On Thursday, Barca president Joan Laporta confirmed Koeman would remain in charge of the first team for the 2021-22 season.

A hero as a player at Camp Nou, Koeman could only secure third place in LaLiga last season as Atletico Madrid won the title, his Copa del Rey success doing little to quieten the doubters.

Laporta had seemed keen to appoint a replacement before next season, with former club captain Xavi reportedly among the favourites for the role, but he announced his support for Koeman following a "reflection period".

Koeman said the discussions and doubts over his position had been "intense", but that he was now focused on steering Barca back towards major trophies.

"I am relieved to say my players and staff can fully focus on the new season now," he said via his Twitter account.

"The last few weeks have been intense, but I am glad that president Joan Laporta gave his support to me and calm has been restored.

"The focus of everyone in the club is the same: building a winning Barca and achieving success!"

Barca allowed the title to slip from their reach after dragging themselves back into contention following a poor start to the season.

They failed to finish in the top two and went two seasons running without winning the title for the first time since 2008.

Their tally of 79 points was their lowest total since the same year, when they managed 67. Indeed, the last coach to earn 76 or fewer points in his first 38 games with the club was Frank Rijkaard in 2003-04 (72 – W21 D9 L8).

Ronald Koeman will remain as Barcelona head coach for the 2021-22 season, president Joan Laporta confirmed on Thursday.

Dutchman Koeman – a legend in his playing days at Camp Nou – guided Barca to a third-placed finish in LaLiga last term, meaning they finished outside of the top two for the first time since 2007-08, though the Blaugrana did succeed in winning the Copa del Rey.

They were inspired by Lionel Messi, who scored 30 league goals to win an eighth Pichichi trophy, though the 33-year-old is also the subject of speculation over his next move, with his contract at Barca coming to an end.

Koeman was appointed by Josep Maria Bartomeu last year, after Quique Setien's ill-fated tenure, with the former Netherlands coach signing a two-year contract.

Laporta succeeded Bartomeu in March, taking charge at Camp Nou for a second spell, and reports had suggested he was keen to install his own choice as coach.

On Thursday, however, he confirmed the 58-year-old will remain in charge for at least another year.

"After this reflection period, we have agreed that we will continue the current contract of Ronald Koeman," Laporta told a media conference.

 

"We're very satisfied with the conversations we have had. They were frank conversations and the coach's behaviour was impeccable.

"We found solutions to any slight differences. We have thought about what is best for Barcelona and we're all happy to make this announcement."

Asked if he would have kept Koeman on if there had not been a year left on his contract, Laporta said: "The year remaining that he had was an independent thing and didn't condition us.

"For now, the previous contract continues. We'll have talks about everything else further down the line.

"He already made an effort last season and we haven't contemplated [a pay cut] this time. He understands the club's situation."

After a poor start to the congested season, Barca did manage to drag themselves into title contention, only to slip up towards the end of the campaign.

Their tally of 79 points is their lowest total since 2007-08, when they managed 67. Indeed, the last coach to earn 76 or fewer points in his first 38 games with the club was Frank Rijkaard in 2003-04 (72 - W21 D9 L8).

With Atletico Madrid triumphing this year and Real Madrid winning LaLiga in 2019-20, it meant Barca have failed to win the title in two successive seasons for the first time since 2008.

Uncertainty over Koeman's future has not stopped Barca acting swiftly in the transfer market, albeit mostly acquiring players who were available on free transfers.

Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia have arrived following the expiration of their contracts at Premier League champions Manchester City, while Barca also exercised their option to bring Emerson back to the club following two seasons at Real Betis.

Ronald Koeman will remain as Barcelona head coach for the 2021-22 season, president Joan Laporta confirmed on Thursday.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has declared Lionel Messi wants to stay at Camp Nou as talks over a new contract continue.

The Argentine forward wanted to leave last August before agreeing to stay and reconsider at the end of his existing deal, which expires on June 30.

The captain and record scorer's public show of discontent at Barcelona's leadership led to links with the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, who hoped to sign him on a free transfer.

However, the election of a new president in Laporta appears to have salvaged the 33-year-old's relationship with the club where he has spent the entirety of his professional career.

Amid reports a two-year contract extension is close to being agreed, Laporta has offered his most optimistic update yet.

He said: "Our talks with the agents of Leo Messi are going well. We hope they continue to progress. It's not done... but we know Leo wants to stay."

Barcelona's summer business has begun with two free transfer signings in the form of Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia, both of whom have arrived from Manchester City.

They are expected to be joined by Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay, whose respective contracts at Liverpool and Lyon are also up this summer.

This approach owes much to the club's latest financial results, which showed overall debt of almost €1.2billion.

However, Laporta insists Barca will still be able to renew Messi's deal, even as they look to make savings elsewhere.

He said: "The renewal of Messi does not depend on the audit. We are in talks with the agents of Leo and they are going well.

"We hope they continue to progress. What happens with Leo is not a matter of money, but a matter of the future and sports.

"He wants to continue with this idea because he wants a team that can help him win leagues, Champions [League] and titles in the short-term."

Sergio Aguero signed on the dotted line at Barcelona but refused to discuss the possibility of Pep Guardiola following him from Manchester City to Camp Nou.

Barcelona are in a state of upheaval amid doubts over Ronald Koeman's future, with club president Joan Laporta describing the Dutchman as "a coach that we did not ask for" on Monday.

Laporta has not excluded the possibility of Koeman staying in charge for the second year of his contract, but it appears the club are also looking at alternative options to come in and take charge.

Aguero is also thought of as a potential upgrade on the talent Barcelona have as striking options, besides Lionel Messi, having become Manchester City's record goalscorer during a highly successful decade in England.

The new recruit also said he thought Messi would be staying at Barcelona, continuing their partnership from the Argentina national team.

However, asked about the possibility of Barcelona re-hiring Guardiola, who coached the Blaugrana from 2008 to 2012, Aguero stayed well clear.

He said: "I don't have the right to talk about that. He has a contract with City and I'm not the one who has to talk about the coach."

The 'one' would be Laporta, the president who was elected in March. His predecessor, Josep Maria Bartomeu, appointed Koeman.

Asked about the latest situation with Koeman, during what was Aguero's presentation news conference, Laporta said: "I already said that we have started a period of reflection, for the reasons I said.

"As he was a coach that we did not ask for, we needed that period. There are contacts, I have already said that he is a coach with a current contract and our will is to respect it as long as this period of reflection occurs."

Koeman almost led Barcelona to a domestic double in 2020-21, but a dip in league form over the closing weeks of the season meant their charge since the turn of the year was only good enough for third place in LaLiga. They won the Copa del Rey, but that may not be enough to save him.

Laporta was also questioned about whether Aguero had been brought in to please captain Messi, who has yet to sign a new contract with his current deal to expire at the end of June.

The president replied, according to Mundo Deportivo: "The signing of Aguero is because he is a desired player and an exceptional player. It is the first of a series of signings that you will get to know. Naturally, we want Messi to continue."

The news conference was perhaps a sign of what Aguero can expect at Barcelona, at least in the short term. Messi signing a new deal would bring a sense of calm to proceedings, as would clarity on the coaching situation.

Aguero is looking forward to playing with his compatriot on a week-by-week basis.

He said the prime motivation to join his new club was: "To be at Barca, where the best player in the world is.

"If he [Messi] continues here, which I think he will, we will try to do our best, as we have always done, in the national team."

Laporta could announce a new signing every day of this week – and he might yet, with Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum heavily linked – but the coaching situation also needs to be a priority.

Aguero steered away from recommending Guardiola's appointment, but spoke of his admiration for the City coach.

"We all know that Pep, since he arrived at City, has proposed a different football," Aguero said. "He proposes to keep the ball all the time and to keep that is important. It made me and the whole team better."

Injuries and a COVID-19 absence caused Aguero to miss chunks of the 2020-21 season, but he came through a medical on Monday and said his left knee, which was operated on last June, was "perfectly fine".

Messi has benefited from some outstanding forwards lining up alongside him during his Barcelona career, notably David Villa, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Barcelona averaged 2.7 goals per game when Villa and Messi played together, and it was the same when Neymar played with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, dipping to 2.6 when Messi and Suarez featured in the same side.

There are overlaps to bear in mind when looking at those figures, but not in the case of Villa who left Barca in July 2013, with Neymar arriving effectively as his replacement. Suarez then came in a year later from Liverpool.

Neymar departed for Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017, while Suarez was sold to Atletico Madrid last year.

Barcelona's win percentage stood at 74.1 per cent when Neymar and Messi played in the same team, 73.6 per cent with Villa and 73.2 per cent with Suarez.

Yet Barca's points per game were curiously slightly lower at 2.3 when Messi played with Neymar compared to when Suarez and Villa were in the team alongside the little maestro (2.4).

It was a sign of the times that Barcelona, led by Guardiola for two of Villa's three seasons, averaged 71.8 per cent possession while the Spain striker was at Camp Nou. When Messi and Neymar played together that figure was 67.2 per cent and when Messi and Suarez teamed up it was 65.3 per cent.

Messi, Suarez and Neymar frequently played in the same side, forming the feared 'MSN' forward line.

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