Barcelona need to ensure that Lionel Messi remains “non-transferable”, claims Emili Rousaud, with a former member of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s staff at Camp Nou of the opinion that the bond between the Argentine superstar and La Liga heavyweights “can’t be broken”.
There have been suggestions that a parting of ways could be on the cards.
With Barca having suffered a disastrous finish to their 2019-20 campaign – surrendering their domestic crown to Real Madrid and being crushed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League – changes in Catalunya are on the cards.
Messi is said to be mulling over his options as part of that process.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is yet to commit to a contract extension beyond the summer of 2021, with the South American concerned by the direction in which Barca are seemingly heading on and off the field.
Rousaud believes the 33-year-old can still be talked into prolonging his association with the Blaugrana, but admits that decisive action is required in order to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
He told Marca: “You have to make a deal that secures Messi with you for life. Messi’s history with Barcelona can’t be broken, he can’t leave.
“I hope that Messi will be at Barcelona for many years, even in different roles, for us he should be considered absolutely non-transferable.”
While hoping to see a deal agreed with the talismanic presence, Rousaud concedes that Barca find themselves in a difficult situation.
He added: “I believe that we’ve hit the bottom.
“We have to rethink, the current board is responsible for taking an important step and giving another project a chance.
“The current project has shown itself to be exhausted, the cycle has ended.”
Quique Setien has paid the price for that with his job, with a man who was only handed the managerial reins in January having been relieved of his duties in the dugout.
Ronald Koeman is expected to be appointed in his place, but Rousaud is still hoping to see Xavi returned to Camp Nou at some stage – with the legendary former midfielder having cut his coaching teeth in Qatar with Al Sadd.
“I think that Xavi could lead the new project because he has roots in Barcelona’s DNA,” Rousaud said.
“Koeman also has the advantage of having belonged to the ‘Dream Team’ and knowing the style of play the club wants.
“He could be offered a year, so that his future isn’t locked in when the new administration takes power.”
On the back of parting with Setien, Barca have revealed that their next round of presidential elections will be held in March 2021 – with Bartomeu set to be replaced at the helm after falling under ever-increasing pressure.