Barcelona are reportedly working to offer prized star Lionel Messi a lifetime contract similar to the one fellow club legend Andres Iniesta recently signed as they look to tie him down for the long term.
Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo reported Messi has already signed a new deal until 2021—announced back in July—and that a lifetime contract is the new priority (h/t Mikael McKenzie of the Daily Express).
It was only in October when Barcelona announced Iniesta as the first recipient of a lifetime contract with the club, which is likely to keep the midfielder at the Camp Nou long after he decides to retire.
Journalist Mootaz Chehade echoed the growing sentiment that Messi has put pen to paper on new terms, his previous contract having been due to expire at the end of this season:
The report specified that the term extends past Messi's playing days and will see him offered an ambassadorial role, as well as the freedom to decide when he will take his leave of the sport.
Barcelona have long cherished their five-time Ballon d'Or winner, arguably the greatest talent of his generation, and it's hardly surprising he could join an icon like Iniesta in receiving such a commitment from the club.
MailOnline's Robert Cottingham recently provided quotes from Barca executive Oscar Grau, who spoke at the club's annual general assembly in October and said: "Messi signed a four-year deal in June, but the club will offer him a lifetime contract. The idea is for Leo, who has been here since he was little, to stay here for life because he is an icon. After his playing days we want him to continue to be linked to the club."
Since arriving from boyhood club Newell's Old Boys as a 13-year-old in 2000, Messi has become one of Barca's most celebrated players. BigSport not too long ago highlighted his contribution to the Blaugrana:
Eight Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League crowns and three FIFA Club World Cups are just some of the trophies he's helped the club win since his debut in 2004, showing the impact Messi has had on Barca.
Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand recently admitted how embarrassed he was when he ran into the Argentinian, via BT Sport:
Its hardly surprising Messi is a leading candidate to receive a lifetime deal at Barca, and as rewarding as it would be for him, the Blaugrana would be the real winners in securing his loyalties for life while he's 30.
The report does mention it's uncertain as to whether Messi will accept the offer, however, and quoted him saying he wants to "play in Argentine football and [for old club] Newell's," casting some doubt over the matter.