There have been lots of speculations surrounding Lionel Messi’s future especially after the Argentine stalled all extension talks with Barcelona despite his current contract expiring next summer. But Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has suggested all rumours were trash and reiterated that the 33-year-old will most likely end his career at Camp Nou. Bartomeu insisted that the club was in talks with Messi and his representatives about an extension despite reports suggesting otherwise. Messi, on Sunday, became the first footballer in La Liga history to score 20 goals and record as many assists in a single La Liga season. Lionel Messi Reaches New Goal and Assist Milestone in Barcelona’s 1–0 La Liga 2019–20 Win Over Real Valladolid.
"We've spoken, we are speaking and we will continue to speak with Messi," Bartomeu told Spanish newspaper Marca. "He wants to finish his career here, we will definitely renew with him and I am in no doubt that he will stay here," he added. Rumours of Messi possibly leaving Camp Nou for another club first hit the internet when another Spanish outlet Cadena Ser reported that the player had suddenly halted all contract extension talks on the back of few disappointing results. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi Records: Juventus and Barcelona Stars Reach New Milestones After Landmark Performances.
Reports also emerged that the Argentine had lost faith in the club’s president and his board and will wait until the next president presides before reconsidering his decision. Messi was believed to be extremely unsatisfied with the club’s planning and lack of quality players in the squad and was interested in looking at options elsewhere.
But Bartomeu quashed all such speculations by stating that talks were on between the club and Messi about a contract extension and that an announcement could be expected soon. The Argentine forward has been in great form and has directly contributed towards 11 goals (scored three and assisted eight) since the La Liga resumed last month. One of those was the pass to Arturo Vidal in the 1-0 win over Real Valladolid on Saturday.
Meanwhile, former Barcelona and Liverpool midfielder Luis Garcia has backed the Argentine not only to continue his stay at the Catalan club but also play at the highest level until 2025. "Why not? The way he is playing, adapting his style to the game is impressive," Garcia was quoted by Goal as telling La Liga. “Every year he shows us something different but keeps up the same amount of goals, of assists. Even getting more every year!
"He's adapting, he doesn't spend so much time upfront because he knows it's harder, so he drops a little more. He shows why he's so intelligent. He adapts his game to what the team needs in every game. I could see him playing in 2025, easily!” he added.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 13, 2020 09:09 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).