“We would like Leo Messi to renew his contract, that's the idea. He is young, you can see that, and he still has two years on his deal. He's always improving, always innovating. I believe he still has many years in front of him and in the coming months we will sit down with him so that he has many more years at Barcelona.”
Josep Maria Bartomeu was speaking last Thursday in an exclusive interview with ESPN on the club facilities.
“Messi is a one-club man” continues the FC Barcelona president. “It's more than what he does on the pitch, his relationship with Barça will last forever. I use the example of Pele, who was always at Santos. We want Messi to always be at Barça, whether that's playing or linked to the club.”
“Maybe in three, four or five years, Leo Messi will say: 'OK, I am going to stop playing football.' So we are preparing our club for the future, for the time post-Leo. Because we would like to still be the top club at that time. So, it's a way of working, of investing, also of taking risks.”
“Messi changed completely the sense of Barca. In the way of keeping our club on top in terms of results, winning the top competitions and trying to win every season. Messi knows his body well and the day he believes he can't add what he wants he will leave. We have to prepare for the future. Leo Messi is our leader, he's the best player in the world of football, he's playing with us, he's playing fantastically, but we know it won't be forever”.
The president spoke about the way the club is preparing for life after the greatest player on earth.: “Sometimes I explain to members of the club and the board, what we are doing is bringing right now very young players to the club. Young players that we think are very talented, like Clement Lenglet, Ousmane Dembélé, Arthur Melo, Frenkie de Jong, and also Marc-Andre ter Stegen is still very young. There a lot of players that will continue playing after the Messi era”.