The Catalan businessman is a front-runner for the January 24th vote, with one of his rivals, Jordi Farre, boasting he will have the Argentinian signed-up one day after the elections if he is victorious.
Messi is about to enter the final six months of his £500,000-per-week contract and is reportedly growing increasingly frustrated in Spain. The forward submitted a transfer request after the embarrassing end to the 2019-20 season before reluctantly agreeing to stay, passing-up on an escape route to England.
City and Pep Guardiola will be front-runners to prise Messi away from his boyhood club next summer, but Font has now also claimed he will be able to change Messi’s mind upon election.
‘I’m convinced that with a competitive, exciting and, especially in Messi’s case, long-term project – one that could even go beyond the day that Messi retires – we will convince him to stay,’ Font told ESPN.
‘Messi is the best player in the history of the No. 1 sport in the world. Imagine what that means.
‘For that reason, the Messi-Barca association is a strategic one and we must do everything possible to guarantee the association lives on.
‘Keeping in mind he can speak with other clubs in January, phoning Messi must be one of the priorities.’
Barcelona lie ninth in La Liga, 12 points behind Atletico Madrid. A comeback would be record-breaking, with no Spanish top-flight club ever coming back from such a deficit.
Damaging losses to Cadiz and Juventus in their last two games won’t have helped the 33-years-old’s frustration. Barcelona are still in the early stages of a transition period after a squad overhaul in the summer, including the sale of Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the Catalans hard, and Messi’s monstrous wage demands are another obstacle that could thwart Font’s plans for a new deal.
‘Of course, the best player in the world and the best of all time has to be compensated competitively,’ Font added. ‘But I think his priorities are competing and winning.
‘His salary is one of the realities that has to be adjusted. The level of revenue in the short-term and for next season is up in the air. It depends on what happens with fans coming back to the stadium.
‘Based on that, we will have to structure the wage bill appropriately. Once we are clear on that situation; we will know what the club can afford.
‘Messi is a Barca fan and he loves Barca as we all do. He’s been here for a lot of years, since he was 13, and I am sure that regardless of what he wants to do to keep winning, his passion and love for the club is more than anything else.’