Barcelona is reportedly planning a new, lifelong contract for Lionel Messi, ensuring he doesn’t leave the club in 2020.
According to Mundo Deportivo (h/t AS‘ Santi Gimenez), the deal will remove any doubts Messi could use a clause in his current contract allowing him to leave at the end of a season, providing he informs the club before May.
Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu told Barca TV (h/t Marca‘s Alejandro Segura) the Blaugrana aren’t worried he might use the clause, as he remains loyal to Barcelona. Gerard Pique also isn’t worried, but he believes Messi has earned the right to decide his own future:
His current deal will run out in 2021, so the Catalans have to start working on a new contract to avoid any uncertainty next season.
Mundo also reported the 32-year-old would not leave Barcelona for another European club, instead preferring to move to MLS or return to Newell’s Old Boys should he choose not to retire at the Camp Nou.
Messi has missed the start of the new season with an injury, and Barcelona has struggled in his absence. They entered the international break in 11th spot in La Liga, having picked up a single win in their first three matches.
His absence has opened the door for young starlet Ansu Fati, however, with the 16-year-old scoring his first senior goal in the 2-2 draw against Osasuna.
Messi could finally make his season debut on 14 September, when Barcelona play host to Valencia. They’ll travel to Germany for a UEFA Champions League clash with in-form Borussia Dortmund three days later.
In his 687 appearances for Barcelona, Messi has racked up an outrageous 603 goals and 242 assists, and the Blaugrana believe that he has earned the right to choose his next move.