Lionel Messi on Barcelona Future: 'I Want to Retire Here'

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 06: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at Camp Nou on October 06, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)
Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Lionel Messi has said it is becoming increasingly likely that he will retire at Barcelona, as he does not want to uproot his family.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner joined Barca's academy in 2001 and has been a key part of the senior side at the Camp Nou since 2004. At 32, he continues to be arguably the best player in the world, but the end of his playing career is now in sight.

Messi has previously said he would like to play in Argentina at Newell's Old Boys, where he started his youth career, before he retires. But he has now hinted he could see out his playing days at Barcelona, per RAC1 (h/t Marca):

"I am becoming more and more clear that I want to retire here. Especially for how I feel about the club. Then, as a family, how happy we are here. For not changing my children's friendships; I don't want to break those.

"I had to live through that [moving to Barcelona from Argentina at a young age], and I don't want them to go through the same thing. We believe that we can stay here for the rest of our lives, to continue living here once I've retired.

"I always dreamt of playing [at Newell's]. Experiencing Argentinian football, which is very different from anywhere else in the world, but you have to think more about your family than what you want [individually]."

Despite now being in his 30s, the Argentinian continues to astound, and he recently won the 2019 FIFA The Best Men's Player award after a phenomenal 2018-19 in which he netted 36 La Liga goals:

Messi missed out on the beginning of the 2019-20 season because of injury and, without him, Barca made their worst start to a campaign in 25 years:

Ernesto Valverde's side have since won their last four matches in all competitions, and Messi got off the mark in La Liga this season with a goal in Sunday's 4-0 thrashing of Sevilla.

Per RAC1 (h/t Marca), Messi said he is still "not yet 100 percent."

Barca are currently second in the league, two points behind Real Madrid, and they host Los Blancos on October 26, their third match back after the international break following fixtures against Eibar and Slavia Prague.

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