Barcelona are set to begin talks to tie down Argentine star Lionel Messi for life after next weekend’s El Clasico clash with Real Madrid.
The 29-year-old’s current deal at the Nou Camp expires at the end of next season, in the summer of 2018, with the Catalan giants understandably keen to tie down a player who has been the catalyst for their prolonged success over much of the last 10 years.
Now, according to reports in Spain, the two parties are set to discuss the situation following Saturday’s game with rivals Real Madrid.
Spanish newspaper SPORT led with the headline ‘Cumbre Barca-Messi Tras El Clasico’ on Saturday, which translates as ‘Summit Barca-Messi after El Clasico’.
The paper reports that Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu is speaking to Messi’s father JOrge, who also acts as his agent, and that the player could be offered a ‘contract for life’, with talks set to gather pace after El Clasico.
While there has often been talk of Messi leaving Barcelona, the player himself has given every indication his is happy at club he recently described as ‘the best in the world’.
He also moved to rubbish the school of thought that his side can only play to their best if he himself is firing on all cylinders.
‘It’s not like that,’ Messi said at an adidas event in Barcelona. ‘I’m in the best club in the world, it doesn’t depend on one player.
‘We have a great team and I don’t think about that.’
In Messi’s eyes, tactical discipline and team structure are more important than individual talent.
‘Everything starts with order,’ the 29-year-old said. ‘In today’s football more than ever you need a team that is organised, that knows how it has to move on the pitch.
‘Order is the most important thing.’