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03-Nov-2020, 11:09 am

I wouldn't pull out all stops to keep Messi, admits Barcelona president candidate Riera

Lionel Messi Barcelona

Barcelona presidential candidate Pere Riera said he "wouldn't pull out all the stops" for Lionel Messi to stay at Camp Nou.

Following Bartomeu's decision to quit it has been reported Barcelona's presidential elections will be held in the second week of January, with Riera announcing his candidacy.

Messi's future remains an important topic at the embattled La Liga giants after the six-time Ballon d'Or winner handed in a transfer request following a tumultuous 2019-20 season .

The Barca captain was tipped to join Premier League powerhouse Manchester City before opting to remain in Spain in an exclusive interview with Goal .

Asked about Messi, Riera told Radio Marca: "In my opinion, Messi has to stay at Barcelona and not with history. It's not good for anyone.

"In the end,it's Messi who decideshis future. I very much doubt that Messi wanted to leave Barcelona in the summer.

"I wouldn't pull out all the stops for Messi."

It has been a difficult start to the campaignforMessi, as he has now gone 877 minutes without scoring in open play.

Messi's last open-play effort came against Napoli in the Champions League back in August, although he has scored three penalties and one free-kick since then.

In an interview with former Real Madrid and Spain coach Vicente del Bosque forEl Pais, former Barca coach Quique Setien spoke about the difficulty of managing a player like Messi.

"I think Messi is the best of all time," Setien said."There have been other great players who have been great, but the continuity that this boy has had throughout the years has not been had by anyone.

"Leo is difficult to manage. Who am I to change him! If they have accepted him as he is for years and have not changed him.

"There's another facet beyond just the player and it's more difficult to manage. Much more difficult. It's something inherent in many athletes that can be seen in the Michael Jordan documentary ("The Last Dance"). You see things you don't expect.

"He's very reserved but he makes you see the things that he wants. He doesn't talk much."

Barca equalled their worst tally of La Liga points after six games since the Spanish competition reverted to three points for a win.

Ronald Koeman's side drew 1-1 with Deportivo Alaves on Saturday, meaning they have just eight points so far in the early stages of the 2020-21 campaign.

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