Josep Maria Bartomeu Discusses Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba Contract Situations

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2019

GIRONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 27: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his sides second goal with his teammate Jordi Alba during the La Liga match between Girona FC and FC Barcelona at Montilivi Stadium on January 27, 2019 in Girona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said Lionel Messi will have a relationship with the club "forever," while the Blaugrana have opened contract talks with Jordi Alba and have offered the full-back a new deal.

Speaking to RKB (h/t MailOnline's Dan Ripley), Bartomeu said he expects Messi to stay at the club beyond the expiration of his current contract, which is 2021: "Leo Messi will continue with us. He is a club player and the relationship will continue forever."

He also confirmed Alba has been offered a new contract: "He has told us that he wants to continue. We have offered him a new contract over five years, and I hope we will continue discussing the deal."

Barcelona's president Josep Maria Bartomeu talks to Johan Cruyff´s daughter Susila Cruyff during a visit to the construction site of the Johan Cruyff stadium for the Barca B team at the FC Barcelona Sports Center in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona, on Feb
LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Sport's German Bona previously reported Alba had been promised a new contract back in 2016 and was growing frustrated over the team's failure to make good on their word. He confirmed his intention to stay at the Camp Nou in January this year, per Marca.

Both Messi and Alba have been among the club's top performers for many years and have enjoyed productive 2018-19 campaigns so far.

The former has scored 21 La Liga goals already, playing a key role in the team's rise to the top of the table.

Messi has spent his entire professional career with the Blaugrana and has carved out a phenomenal legacy already, ranking second in history in Champions League goals at the age of 31:

Barcelona have done everything possible to keep the Argentinian in the fold. According to Juan Jimenez of AS, he has signed a total of eight contracts with the club over the years, with his latest coming in November of 2017.

That extension made him the best-paid player in the world by some distance, as a recent study from L'Equipe revealed:

COPA90 US broke down the enormous deal:

Alba has been an automatic starter for Barcelona at left-back for years, and things have been no different during the ongoing campaign. He's made 20 La Liga starts and has no real competition on the bench, making him a crucial part of the setup.

Alba's contract runs until 2020, per Transfermarkt.com, so his renewal should be considered a priority for the Catalans. It's long overdue, as the Spain international has been among the world's best at his position for the bulk of his professional career.

Bartomeu also said he hopes manager Ernesto Valverde will stay at the club beyond this season, with his contract also being a regular point of debate.

The Catalans lead La Liga by six points and will be in action in the Champions League next week when they visit Lyon for the first leg of their round-of-16 clash.  

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