Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted Lionel Messi's new contract is "all agreed and signed" and the club are in talks with Andres Iniesta over an extension too.
Messi's current deal with the Camp Nou outfit is set to expire at the end of this campaign, and while it was confirmed in July that the 30-year-old would sign the deal when he returned to pre-season training this summer, speculation has gathered pace that the extension had yet to be finalised.
In an interview with Ernest Folch and Albert Masnou of Sport, Bartomeu eased the fears of the Barca fans:
It's all agreed and signed. There are three contracts. One with the Messi Foundation, which is signed with the president of the Foundations and the player's brother. There's an image rights contract with Messi, which [his] father has signed, who is the administrator of his company, and the employment contract, with his father has signed, who has the power to do so.
According to Bartomeu, the only thing that needs to be done is an "official photograph and the protocol of the signature." It's added the contract is valid from June 30 this year and there is "hope" the deal will be announced in the next month.
As noted by Sid Lowe of the Guardian when assessing Barcelona's summer, in the past it has been claimed Messi had signed his contract:
Per journalist Kieran Canning, though, Barcelona sporting director Albert Soler was non-committal when asked about the situation at a press conference on Saturday:
In addition to Messi, Iniesta's contract is also running down, meaning he may also be a free agent at the end of this season. According to Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia), Juventus are considering making a move for the 33-year-old.
But Bartomeu insisted he wants the midfield at the club for a long time yet. "It's ongoing," he said. "He has a contract still. Andres should retire at Barcelona."
As noted by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC, given Iniesta's advancing years, his situation will be fascinating to monitor at Barcelona:
In truth, given they are both so associated with the Blaugrana's success over the past decade, it is difficult to envisage both Messi and Iniesta donning the colours of another club.
There will be frustration from the Barca fans that both players have been allowed to let their deals run down to this point. After all, with little coming through in terms of youth products, manager Ernesto Valverde will continue to lean heavily on both players this term and potentially beyond.
Per Ed Malyon of The Independent, it's not long until teams can legally put offers on the table to the two icons in an attempt to prise them away:
After losing Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, an edginess has gripped the Camp Nou, and it's clear Bartomeu has tried to quell some of those fears here. As long as the contract of Messi remains unconfirmed, there will be sections of the support waiting for the worst-case scenario to manifest.
Neymar's departure has hit Barca hard, while a possible transfer for Iniesta would leave plenty of Cules glum. But it's tough to see the Blaugrana recovering for a while if Messi decided to embark on a new adventure away from Catalonia.