Barcelona planning Lionel Messi tribute, says Laporta

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta has committed to giving Lionel Messi some sort of tribute at the club, stating he deserves "eternal recognition" for his illustrious career.

The club's all-time record goalscorer left on a free transfer to join Paris Saint-Germain last year upon the expiration of his contract, with Barcelona unable to secure a renewal due to the club's financial issues.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Messi could not bid farewell to Barcelona fans in person and admitted in November he was "hurt" following his exit.

Laporta admitted during Barca's Extraordinary General Assembly that he was "sad" at the sequence of events but vowed to still pay tribute to the club legend somehow, who won 45 trophies during his stint with the Blaugrana.

"I will support, lead and back anyone that finds solutions that lead to a tribute to Messi, for all that he has given to Barca," he said.

"We have to give him an eternal recognition for all that he has done.

"For me, Leo will always be at Barca. Circumstances made us do what we did but that can't spoil the recognition we have to give him and sooner or later, I hope sooner, we can pay tribute to this player who has given us so many years of glory.

"Without him, the last 20 years of Barca would not be understood."

Barcelona may choose to honour Messi in 2024, the club's 125th anniversary, which could also coincide with the player's exit from PSG as he penned a two-year deal with the option of a further year in the French capital.

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