Joan Laporta wants Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona and believes he has an advantage over the other presidential candidates.

Messi, 33, is coming out of contract at the end of the season, having sensationally requested to leave Barca ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

Previously president between 2003 and 2010, Laporta is running again, with the election to take place on January 24.

The 58-year-old wants Messi to remain at Barca and feels he has an advantage over the other candidates.

"If I win the elections, I want to make a very competitive proposal and I know he will listen to me. I want him to stay," Laporta told RAC1.

"I have an advantage over others, he knows I've always fulfilled what I said. We have a good relationship, we appreciate each other and we respect each other.

"If I'm the president, I think that there are options to follow."

Sitting fifth in the LaLiga table, Barca have also continually been linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, who left the club in 2017.

But Laporta was unwilling to be drawn into discussing the Brazil international, saying speculation could hurt Ronald Koeman's team.

"Neymar? I won't talk about players during the campaign because it can destabilise the team," he said.

"They are attentive to any history in the environment. I don't want anyone inside to tell me that I'm a destabiliser."

Barcelona visit Real Valladolid in LaLiga on Tuesday.