Agusti Benedito admits that the Liga outfit will struggle to retain a talismanic figure if big-spending Ligue 1 giants follow the advice of Neymar
Barcelona presidential candidate Agusti Benedito admits the Liga giants would find it difficult to compete with Paris Saint-Germain if the Ligue 1 club decided to make a play for Lionel Messi.
A talismanic figure at Camp Nou continues to run down the final year of his contract and is due to hit free agency in the summer of 2021.
There is still time for fresh terms to be thrashed out in Catalunya, but Messi will be freed to speak with interested parties from January if no new deal is put in place.
PSG are positioning themselves towards the front of a recruitment queue, alongside Premier League heavyweights Manchester City, with prominent figures in France talking up an approach.
Former Barca star Neymar has led those calls, with Benedito admitting that comments from the Brazil international left him saying “holy sh*t, watch out for these guys”.
For him, a team bankrolled by ambitious owners could blow the Blaugrana out of the water when it comes to talks with Messi, with there now every chance that 33-year-old one-club man could take on a new challenge in the near future.
Benedito told Radio Marca of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner: “We would all like him to continue at Barcelona.
“He is the best player in the world. I heard Leo Messi say that he wanted to leave Barcelona [last summer], and a decision like that is not made because he got up on the wrong side of the bed.
“So, the first thing will be that he has a change of opinion, because if we have to compete with any other team in Europe that has their eyes on Messi… if the issue is economic, we are not going to be able to.
“When I heard Neymar [say he wants to play with Messi again], I said, ‘Holy sh*t, watch out for these guys’, because PSG belong to Qatar, who are organising the World Cup, who have a club of their own… If PSG wanted him, economically we would not be able to compete.
“I hope that the day will come when Messi will say that after 20 years at Barcelona, he wants to continue.”
Finances are dictating a lot of Barca’s business at the moment, with Benedito claiming that the club have been left in a disastrous state by the regime of recently ousted president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
“Barcelona are going through a very, very, very difficult financial situation,” he added.
“It is incredible the destruction that the previous board has done at Barcelona. It is a matter of great urgency. I would say that they have executed a shocking plan.
“It will take three or four months to make decisions that we are already very clear about and they will be very important.”