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Barcelona presidential candidate Benedito believes Messi might leave the club in summer

Although the actual election doesn’t take place until January 24, there’s a first stage – where candidates must get almost 3,000 votes to progress – that will be done and dusted within the next few days.

As the wheels continue to turn in the Barcelona presidential elections race, the candidates are doing the rounds and making their pitches via various media outlets to gain traction.

How the various candidates are perceived now will, ultimately, author whether they’re in the final shake-up later in the month.

Cited by the Daily Mirror, Agusti Benedito is one such candidate, and whilst what he had to say to ESPN, won’t necessarily have won him any friends, at least he’s dealt with a complex question head-on.

“Keeping Messi would be the best news for the club but I am not very optimistic,” he said.

“Given the club’s situation, I think it’s really important that he stays at Barca, with the understanding that he understands the next two years we have in front us [could be difficult].”

“He’s been here for 20 years – he’s a Barcelona fan and I think he’s sensitive to the situation.”

“He has given us so much in the same way that Barcelona have given him a lot and it’s time for us all to roll up our sleeves.”

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“I would have liked him to say in his interview the other week that his desire is to stay at the club, but he didn’t and now we have to wait and see. The truth is I am pessimistic.”

“Remember that in August he said he wanted to leave after 20 years and now he’s still not cleared up what he wants to do.”

“The most likely outcome I see is that he leaves us in the summer.”

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