Lionel Messi will retire with Barcelona, says team president Josep Bartomeu

Another year, another chance for speculation as to whether Lionel Messi will ever leave Barcelona. The club’s legendary top scorer has his team in contention in La Liga and the Champions League, but things haven’t been smooth over the last year with him and the team. 

There were the struggles last season late on when the team blew a 3-0 lead against Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals and lost the Copa del Rey final. We saw coach Ernesto Valverde let go early on this season and then Quique Setien was brought on board. Then, in February, things got uncomfortable when Messi had to strongly take to Instagram to defend himself after the club’s sporting director Eric Abidal called out some of the players for not being satisfied and not working hard.

That has led to club president Josep Bartomeu taking even more questions as to whether Messi will stay at Barcelona after this season. He seemed sure that Messi will stay for the rest of his career, according to ESPN.

“Messi is the best player in the world,” Bartomeu said at an event on Thursday. “There’s no need to explain anything — I have done so many times in the past. Messi will continue at Barca and Messi will retire at Barca. I don’t have the belief that he’s feeling alone [at the club]. I know many people have said that, but I don’t think it’s the case.”

Messi’s current deal expires in the summer of 2021, which mean he is under contract for the rest of this season and next season. 

In October, Messi rejected a lifetime contract saying he didn’t want a contract that binds him like that. It’s never really felt like Messi would leave, though in the past he has discussed his desire to maybe play for his boyhood club in Argentina, Newell’s Old Boys. 

Messi joined Barcelona’s youth system back in 2001 and has since scored more than 400 goals for the team and won more than 30 trophies.

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