Barcelona president Bartomeu wants to keep Messi with club ‘forever’


Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview that he wants Lionel Messi to remain linked to the club forever and that he plans to sit down with the forward soon to discuss extending his contract.

Messi signed a deal less than two years ago that runs until the summer of 2021, which would take him up to 34th birthday.

The Argentina international is showing no signs of slowing down on the pitch. He has already scored 42 goals in all competitions this season and Bartomeu is already thinking about what would be his 10th, and potentially last, professional deal at Camp Nou.

"We want him to have a really long career so we can keep on enjoying him," Bartomeu said. "Lionel's managed to break down borders. Everyone admires him and he's applauded at other stadiums by rival fans.

"We would like to renew his contract, that's the idea. He is young — you can see that [in his performances] — and he still has two years on his deal. He's always improving, always innovating. I believe he still has many years in front of him and in the coming months we will sit down with him so that he has many more years at Barcelona.

"Messi is a one-club man. It's more than what he does on the pitch — his relationship with Barca will last forever. I use the example of Pele, who was always at Santos. We want Messi to always be at Barca, whether that's playing or linked to the club [when he's retired]."

Messi is already Barca's record goalscorer with 594 goals and he recently surpassed Andres Iniesta to become the player with the second most appearances in the club's history (676). Only Xavi Hernandez (767) has made more.

#professional, #soccer

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