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21 Dec, 2020 13:13

‘Messi doesn’t want to go’: Barcelona presidential candidate says star wants to STAY, while Neymar is open to Camp Nou return

‘Messi doesn’t want to go’: Barcelona presidential candidate says star wants to STAY, while Neymar is open to Camp Nou return

Barcelona presidential hopeful Jordi Farre says Lionel Messi has told him he wants to stay and Neymar is open to "going home" next season, while Messi himself has spoken out to admit he endured a "very bad time" over the summer.

Businessman Farre has echoed reassuring quotes from Messi, insisting that he sees his future in Spain and promising to make the forward the president of a joint brand between the icon and the club.

The election candidate, who instigated the vote of no-confidence in former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, also claimed that he had spoken to Brazil striker Neymar's entourage and been told that the world's most expensive player was keen on a "homecoming" at the Camp Nou, having left for Paris St. Germain in 2017.

"I am sure that Messi does not want to go," Farre told RAC1. "I have talked to his [people]. I have not made any progress, but he has told me that he wants to stay...he wants a winning project.

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"My project is that he renews [his contract] year after year, then to create a joint brand between Messi and Barca, with Messi as the honorary president."

Farre added that Messi would have to take a salary cut and could be joined by former teammate Neymar if the PSG talisman drops his case against the club over his record-breaking transfer.

"Neymar will be welcome but the first thing he has to do is withdraw his demands and ask for forgiveness without embarrassment," explained Farre.

"We are all wrong. We have spoken with his [entourage] and they have told us about 'going home'."

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Appearing to regard Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only two players in the world ahead of Neymar, Farre asked: "Who doesn't want the third-best player in the world on the team?"

Messi has repeatedly been linked with a move away from the club where he has spent his entire career at the end of this season, but the striker has now told the channel that he feels "good, eager and excited" about being at Barcelona.

"I'm fine," the Manchester City target said in an extract from an interview that will be televised in full on Sunday.

"I had a very bad time with what I went through in the summer and at the end of last season.

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"I know that the club is going through a difficult time, on a team and club level, but I'm looking forward to [the future]."

Messi demanded a transfer in the summer before it became clear that his attempt to leave would require a complicated legal wrangle over an expired contract clause that would have allowed him to depart for free.

His relationship with new boss Ronald Koeman has been questioned during an underwhelming start to the season, and Ferre said that a face familiar to Messi - former midfielder Xavi - will eventually lead the team.

"Xavi is the best midfielder in the history of football," Ferre gushed over the current coach of Qatar Stars League club Al Sadd.

"He has already told us that until [at least] 2022, he will not come to Barca. He is the future of Barca, but...I don't think he wants to train former teammates."

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