Former Barcelona star Hristo Stoichkov has admitted that he believes nobody will be able to convince Lionel Messi to stay at the club if the Argentine decides to leave. The 33-year-old has less than six months left on his current deal with the La Liga giants and has been linked with a move away.
Few players have been as talked about over the last six months or so as Lionel Messi especially with the Argentine running down his contract at Barcelona. While he has indicated that anything news about his future beyond or at the club will only be spoken about at the end of the season, that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from linking Messi to everything. So much so, that it has many Barcelona fans concerned about what the club would do without arguably their greatest ever player.
However, having appointed Joan Laporta as their brand new president, the club are hopeful that Messi will stay and sign a contract extension in lieu of Laporta’s plans. But that is not what Hristo Stoichkov believes as he admitted that “nobody will convince Messi of anything” and only the Argentine will make his own decisions. The former Barcelona man further added that the current side aren’t the same as the side Laporta once inherited and Messi knows that.
"Nobody is going to be able to convince Messi of anything if he is clear about what to do. I will always support the decision Leo makes, and Laporta has done it too. It seems to me that this is what to do with a legend, who has made us laugh and even cry,” Stoichkov told Goal.
"It is true that Laporta had a brilliant time at Barca. He has made big decisions, like trusting [Pep] Guardiola, and that established a time when great football was played, excellent and mature. But today you don't have Xavi or [Andres] Iniesta or Deco or Ronaldinho or Eto'o or those who made it possible.
"This was a team born to win, and that must be assumed. You have other types of players. You have a generation of the future, but that is not going to give you the maximum of its possibilities from today to tomorrow. And that's what Messi must believe in and Laporta must convince him."