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Lionel Messi Will Remain At Barcelona For The Next Five Years – Josep Maria Bartomeu

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Leo Messi

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu believes five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi could end up staying at the club for another five years.

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Even at the ripe old age of 32, Messi continues to set new standards of excellence in La Liga and the Champions League, with two years left to run on his current contract at Camp Nou.

There is a clause included in the Argentina international’s deal which gives him the option to leave Barca for nothing at the end of each season, with preparations already being made for his departure behind the scenes.

Bartomeu is not worried about Messi’s long-term future in Cataluyna, however, with it his belief that a talismanic superstar will still be on the club’s books for many years to come.

“Surely it will be the wish of all parties, if he [Messi] feels strong and ambitious, to extend this contract indefinitely,” Bartomeu began.

“Ultimately it is he who must decide. He has earned the right to decide when he will stop playing football. But like he said a few weeks ago, he wants to finish his playing career at Barcelona.

“Over the next two or three seasons, our leader will continue to be Leo Messi. There’s no doubt that he is still young, still strong. He is still ambitious.

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“So Leo Messi will still play with us for the next two, three, four or five years. I have no doubts about that.”

Messi is fully fit and firing again for Barca after overcoming persistent injury issues which kept him sidelined over the first couple of months of the season.

The diminutive magician scored a penalty and two stunning free-kicks to complete a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on Saturday, helping Ernesto Valverde’s side return to the Liga summit.

Messi has contributed eight goals and four assists in seven La Liga appearances this term, with his latest treble taking him to the 40-goal mark in a calendar year for the 11th successive year.

Bartomeu is certain the Argentine’s connection with Barcelona will last forever, regardless of when he decides to hang up his boots or move onto a new challenge.

“I have no doubt that after Messi finishes his career as a footballer, he will remain linked to this club for the rest of his life,” Bartomeu added.

“Firstly because he is the best player in the history of football and this is where he played. I doubt that anybody else will be able to match his achievements or his records.

“Or his talent, leadership and the supremacy he has in the world of football. So he will continue to be linked to Barca for life. Without a doubt.”

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