Lionel Messi has voted in Barcelona’s presidential elections for the first time, with the outcome likely to impact his future with the Catalan club.
Messi, 33, has spent his entire professional career with the La Liga giants but made the shock announcement last summer that he wanted to leave the club.
The six-time Ballon d’Or was unhappy with the club under the rule of President Josep Maria Bartomeu and handed in a transfer request.
Messi ended up staying and Bartomeu resigned but the player can still walk away for nothing when his contract expires in the summer.
However, should favourite and former president Joan Laporta win the election, the forward could be convinced to see out his career at the club.
Speaking recently, Laporta said: “I have a very good relationship with him. I'm convinced my offer will please him. And I'm also convinced that if either of the other two candidates win Messi will not stay.”
Laporta’s rivals in the race are businessman Victor Font and lawyer Toni Frexia.
The result of the election is set to be announced on Sunday evening.
Barcelona ’s elections take place during a period of full-blown crisis with Messi’s desire to leave just a part of that.
Following last season’s humiliating 8-2 Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich, the team suffered an equally humbling 4-1 setback at home in the first leg of this year’s last 16 tie against Paris Saint Germian with the second leg to play this week.
Off the pitch, Barca posted a post-tax loss of £88million for the 2019/20 season, with recent figures putting the club’s total debts at a staggering £1.1billion.
As recently as last week, the club’s Nou Camp offices were raided by police in connection with possible corruption and money laundering, with Bartomeu one of a number of arrests.
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