Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has suggested that he is confident that star forward Lionel Messi will remain at the Camp Nou for ‘many years’.
The Argentine superstar is under contract in Catalonia until the summer of 2021 but has a clause inserted into his current deal that allows him to depart the club for nothing next year.
However, Bartomeu has maximum faith that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will stay at the club beyond his current contract but would allow him to leave should an opportunity arise.
Talking to Barca TV, he said: “He has earned that freedom to decide his future, but he is very Cule (Barcelona fan) and I am calm.
“Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta and [Carles] Puyol all had the same clause and we couldn’t give Messi a different clause, but I repeat, I am in no doubt he will stay for many years.”
Messi has yet to play a part in Barca’s opening to the La Liga season due to a foot injury with Ernesto Valverde’s having won, drawn and lost each of their opening three matches. As such, they now sit eighth in the Spanish top-flight and five points behind early leaders Atletico Madrid.
Despite Messi’s absence, he is still the early favourite to be named as the league’s top goalscorer come the end of the campaign after 36 goals last season. He can be backed at a priced of 8/13 with William Hill.