Messi's relationship with Barcelona will continue forever, says Josep Bartomeu
What's the story?
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that the club has begun work on a new contract for captain Lionel Messi as they believe that the Argentine is a club player and that their relationship will continue "forever".
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The Argentine ace had signed a new contract with the Catalan giants in 2017, in a deal that will keep him at Camp Nou till 2021.
While the 31-year-old has often expressed his desire to finish his career at boyhood club Newell's Old Boys, Barcelona remains confident that the forward will continue to play at Barcelona for years to come.
Speaking to Cadena Cope, Bartomeu said, "Messi's contract is up in two years but, given how he's playing, we will have him for many more years."
"Leo's intelligent, he knows how to measure things. If he feels good, he will tell us. When he decides, we will renew his deal."
The heart of the matter
Bartomeu has once again reiterated his confidence in Messi's time with Barcelona. Speaking to RKB (via Marca), he said, "Leo Messi will continue with us. He is a club player and the relationship will continue forever."
Bartomeu also expressed his desire to see Jordi Alba and coach Ernesto Valverde continue their work at Barcelona.
He said, "He [Alba] has told us that he wants to continue. We have offered him a new contract over five years and I hope we will continue discussing the deal."
"The goal is to finish the season strong and win everything. I trust him to lead the team and even if we do not win anything, he will continue to coach the team."
Barcelona will look to extend their lead at the top of the Spanish league table when they face Valladolid on Sunday.