Josep Maria Bartomeu Thinks Lionel Messi's Barcelona Contract Won't Be His Last

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20: Lionel Messi (10) of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg   match between Chelsea FC and FC Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on February 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)
MB Media/Getty Images

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has indicated Lionel Messi will sign another contract with the club despite only three months having passed since he penned his latest extension.

Messi's current deal isn't due to expire until the summer of 2021, but Bartomeu told Bloomberg (h/t Marca) he's hopeful the forward will go on to become a "legend" status figure at the Camp Nou:

"We are a club that bets on good football. We have a unique style of play and Messi is the best player in the world, our key player.

"Andres Iniesta is an example. We want him here not as a player, but as a legend in the future.

"And with Messi I hope it's the same.

"Now he's got a four-year contract, but I don't think it will be his last [with Barcelona]."

Any new deal for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner would likely take him into his third decade with the Catalan powerhouse.

Barca chief Bartomeu confirmed Messi's most recent deal increased his buyout clause to €700 million, but most importantly noted the player's desire to remain at Catalonia:

Bloomberg @business

Lionel Messi will stay at @FCBarcelona "forever" and won't be sold at any price, club president says https://t.co/c8EN5E5Eee #ForçaBarça https://t.co/6bFiWjdnvY

Bartomeu's reference to team-mate Iniesta is a nod to the lifetime contract he signed in October, effectively ensuring the player remains at the Camp Nou for the rest of his playing days.

Messi arrived at the club from Argentina in 2001 and will have spent 20 years with the Blaugrana at the expiration of the deal he signed in November, not to mention the fact he'll be 33 years of age:

B/R Football @brfootball

On this day in 2004, Lionel Messi signed his first professional contract with Barcelona. It was the start of a legend 🙌 https://t.co/ATDBxZne3l

There are few clubs in the world who would be able to put together the kind of package required to even tempt Barcelona into selling their star, never mind actually pulling a transfer off.

In any case, Messi himself reiterated Bartomeu's sentiment upon signing his contract in November and said he was happy in his setting, per the official Barcelona website (h/t Marca):

"We had been needing to do the signing for some time and now it is done, and I am happy to be at this club which is my home.

"I wanted to continue all my life here, I always said that I wanted to stay here for all my career and finish at Barcelona, it was my dream.

"I want to continue winning trophies for the club."

The Blaugrana are on track to add to their silverware cabinet this season and are in contention for a treble. They drew 1-1 at Chelsea in their first leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 clash on Tuesday and will face Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final, as well as leading La Liga by seven points.

Messi is the strongest candidate to be awarded Barca's second lifetime contract if a current player deserves one, and Bartomeu seems at ease over his star agreeing new terms once a renewal comes up for discussion again.


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