The FC Barcelona president insists Lionel Messi has made it ‘very clear’ that he will retire as a Blaugrana in the next three to four years.
Fears over Messi’s future have been ripe ever since reports emerged last month claiming that he pulled out of contract talks, with less than 12 months left on his original deal at FC Barcelona.
The squad’s lack of quality and his own frustrations with the club board are said to be the primary reasons for this development.
Regardless, it leaves Barcelona in a tough position as Messi’s contract winds down. The Argentine, widely acknowledged as the club’s greatest player in history, has been linked with boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys and Inter Milan. Such a loss would have huge repercussions at Camp Nou, both on and off the pitch.
But Josep Maria Bartomeu, who stated last month that Leo will sign a contract extension, insisted his superstar forward plans to retire at Barcelona by 2023 at the earliest.
“It’s not just me who says it. Messi says it himself, that he wants to finish his professional playing career at Barcelona and it’s the only club for him,” the club president told beIN SPORTS.
“I don’t have any doubt that when he finishes his football career in three or four years that it will be here in Barcelona.
“Messi has it very clear. He’s been here since he was a kid. He knows the colors and he’s a part of the club’s history.
“He’s the best player in the world. Not just right now, but in the history of the game. He’s at Barcelona and has made clear he wants to stay here.”