Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed that signing Antoine Griezmann is part of the planning process for the post-Lionel Messi era.
Messi has been a talisman figure within the Barcelona squad for 15 years now, and has fired in 603 goals on route to 10 La Liga titles, six Copa del Reys and four Champions League crowns.
The Argentine forward has collected a staggering five Ballon d’Ors among his many individual prizes. Some have even hailed him as the greatest of all-time following his exploits at Camp Nou down the years.
However, all good things must end someday and Barcelona know that a 32-year-old Messi is no exception. The process for life after their star man, therefore, has begun in World Cup winner Griezmann’s arrival.
At 28, some may argue that the club’s €120m signing from Atletico Madrid may not be the best long-term successor to Messi. Although he can certainly provide the ageing star with some quality support in the Barcelona attack.
“Griezmann is one of the five or six best players in the world. We already knew that,” Bartomeu told Radio Montecarlo.
“The possibility arose to bring him in and we had no doubts about it.
“We must also think about the post-Messi era and we must try to make a future with the best players possible.”
Talk, meanwhile, over a stunning Camp Nou comeback for Neymar refuses to die down. Currently, Paris Saint-Germain are playing hardball by allegedly refusing any offers below €222m in cash only.
Reports have suggested Barcelona are keen to reunite with the Brazilian this summer despite his controversial exit two years ago. A motive for this could be down to their search for a Messi replacement.
But Bartomeu refused to shed any light on their transfer drama with PSG.
“In the summer I read newspapers a lot and they say a lot of things,” he said.
“Here the only thing clear is that Neymar is a PSG player and we respect PSG a lot. In this case, there is not much more to say.”
Barcelona will likely not be panicking over Messi just yet, though, considering he scored 51 goals in 50 games last season. He even added 22 assists in the process to help the club to another La Liga title.
Neymar, on the other hand, has travelled with PSG for their pre-season China tour.