Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has sensationally declared that their talismanic forward and captain, Lionel Messi, will remain loyal to the club and see out the twilight of his career at Camp Nou before retiring from professional football.
Messi, 32, joined Barcelona in 2001 as a feeder team player at the age of 14 and finally started playing for the senior team in 2004.
Bartomeu’s psyche seems to have been ruffled by the thought of losing the talismanic player to retirement after Messi himself hinted at calling it quits with football after winning a record sixth Balloon d’Or award.
He is expected to present his sixth Ballon d’Or to Barcelona fans today (Saturday) just before the kickoff of their Laliga home game against Mallorca at Camp Nou.
Barcelona manager has since reacted to that Messi retirement alert by claiming it was just normal thinking and not some thing that constitutes source of worry as the superstar still has a lot to give to Barca. But club president Bartomeu is taking downright seriously.
He wants to tidy up Messi’s contract extension before the current one expires in 2021 and have retire from football at Camp Nou.
“I worry about the day Messi goes. I would like to sign one more contract with Messi,” Bartomeu told Catalunya Radio.
“He has a lot left. We have talked many times and he has no problem continuing at Barca.
“I have no doubt that he will play here until he retires, it is a commitment from him.
“It will end when he wants because Leo, for being the best, for giving what he has given, it will be up to him to say when he stops.
“He will set the terms. He has the right to decide how and when he wants to finish. He will never leave, this is his club, the club of his life.”
On manager Valverde’s current contract which will also run out in 2021, Bartomeu does not sound too enthusiastic.
“Valverde has a contract until the end of my term . He or Barcelona will decide. To continue with a coach depends on
“In Barcelona we have seen very short periods of coaches lately. Three [seasons] may be enough, but it is a decision that he must make.
“It depends on exhaustion, fatigue, although I see Valverde is excited, wants to do well, wants success and wants to combine these
players who have won everything with the new generation.”