Lionel Messi’s talks over a contract extension with FC Barcelona are believed to have come to a positive conclusion as he talks about finishing his career with the La Liga giants after reportedly agreeing to a new deal.
The future of Barca and Messi, 29, has been widely discussed as his contract approaches expiration by next year and talks were seemingly progressing slowly, but reports on Wednesday suggested Messi had agreed to a new deal until 2021 or 2022.
There was further proof as in an interview with Tencent Sports published by ESPN, the Argentinian said he wanted to finish his career at Barca, the club he joined as a 13-year-old and enjoyed a trophy-laden career with — winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.
“It’s what I always wanted and dreamed. I would love to finish my career at Barcelona,” Messi said.
It is a widely known argument that Messi is the world’s greatest ever player after claiming the Ballon d’Or a record five times. However, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo could equal that record after the Portuguese captain helped Real retain their Champions League title.
Both had been in a league of their own in competing for the top team and individual honour, with the Madrid forward hot favourite to win his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2017.
While Barcelona and Real Madrid players do not regularly praise one another due to a deeply rooted rivalry between the two clubs, Messi chose to make an exception for the Ronaldo, insisting that any perceived rivalry between the pair is hyped up by the media and was happy to talk up Ronaldo’s ability.
“That thing about our rivalry is something more invented by the press than by us,” Messi added to Tencent Sports. “What we want is to do our best every year, to do the best for our teams and what is spoken from outside is not something I give importance to.”
“He is a phenomenal player who has many qualities that year after year he improves and that is why he is one of the best in the world.”