According to Goal, Joan Laporta reported that back in 2006, Inter wanted to sign Lionel Messi for EUR 250 million (£ 225 million/$ 300 million), but eventually succeeded in convincing him to stay in Barcelona to make history.
Since graduating in 2004 from Barca’s senior team, Messi experienced a meteoric rise to stardom at Camp Nou.
At the age of 17, the Argentine made his debut, and opened his scoring account with a delightful chip for the club after being teed up by Ronaldinho in a clash with Albacete in the set-up of Frank Rijkaard towards the end of his first season.
In Barca’s starting XI, he quickly became a regular, drawing interest in the process from top clubs across Europe, including Italian giants Inter.
Laporta, who served as Camp Nou club president between 2003 and 2010, claims that while he was still a teenager, the Nerazzurri sent a world-record deal for Messi, but he never imagined selling a man who had already demonstrated enormous promise.
He always had offers: Moratti gave me 250 million in 2006 and said no, I saw Messi and his family’s respect for Barcelona there,”He always had offers: in 2006 Moratti gave me 250 million and said no, there I saw the esteem of Messi and his family for Barcelona,”
“His father asked me what I would do as a father and I told him, that the best thing was to stay, I told him that we would make a team that would accompany him to achieve the greatest successes, that would touch the glory and make history. I saw his love for the club, the city , and the country.”
In all, Messi has scored a total of 641 goals for Barca in 743 games, winning 10 Liga titles, four Champions League crowns, and six Ballon d’Or awards along the way.
However, following a disappointing 2019-20 season, the Argentine international pressed for a move away from Camp Nou in the summer, before conducting a U-turn on his future that ultimately led to the resignation of former president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his entire board.
Laporta says that if he is chosen to replace Bartomeu, and that he has already drawn up a strong strategy to put back a harmonious environment on and off the ground, his key priority is to raise the feeling of gloom across the club.
“He said I’m standing for an election because I love the club. We have the requisite planning, expertise and commitment for the improvements required by the club. We’ve got a proposal. The plan is to operate.
“I want all the Barca fans to be together. The time to reproach or look back is not here. Everyone blends into the Barca that we are suggesting. Our plan is to get people back to happiness. It’s not an easy pledge for a referendum. It’s a dedication that is ethical, civic, economic, social, and unified.