If there is one thing on the minds of the board at FC Barcelona, it is the extension of Lionel Messi’s contract. The Argentine forward is the Catalan club’s talisman and his current contract runs out at the end of the 2017/18 season. Failure to extend his contract now would see Messi play the next La Liga season in the final year of his contract – a dangerous situation for any club looking to keep their best players.
Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu knows what is at stake and confirmed last month that the club were looking to extend Messi’s contract apart from certain others.
“At the moment we haven’t established which players will be the first to be renewed or whether Messi will be the first,” Bartomeu said. “But it’s absolutely essential that Leo Messi stays at the club.”
A new contract extension will be Messi’s eighth new contract at the Camp Nou. And this time, he wants a new release clause added to the contract to allow him to leave the club on his own terms.
The 29-year-old still has many more years left in him but will leave for his former club in Argentina when he feels the time is right. Diario Gol claims that Messi wants to return to Newell's Old Boys and finish his career; which means he has no plans to retire at the Camp Nou.
Messi has iterated his desire to move back to Argentina
Messi has said before that he would like to finish his career back home in Argentina and the Rosario-based club where he spent his youth years is where he wants his career to come full circle before he hangs up his boots.
“I would love to [return],” Messi had said last month. “It is something I have kept an eye on because it was my dream as a child.”
“It's something I have kept an eye on. I want to play in Argentine football and Newell's, where I grew up.”
Even the Argentine club’s vice-president Cristian D'Amico felt it would be a sentimental signing that would help the club economically.
“I am convinced, like many of my peers, we can make history as a club if we get the best player in the world in a Newell's shirt,” he had said. “I think we're going to get the pleasure of Messi wearing the shirt. It would be revolutionary.”
The La Liga club would have no qualms about Messi moving back to Argentina when the time comes. For now, though, no other club in Europe can come in between Messi and Barcelona.