Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has pledged his loyalty to the club and signalled his intention to remain at the Camp Nou as long as the fans want him there.
The Argentinian’s future in Catalonia is once again a topic of discussion after he entered the final 18 months of his contract, with his current deal scheduled to expire in June 2021.
Messi, 32, spoke to Mundo Deportivo (via Barca’s official website) and reiterated his desire to remain with his club of almost two decades:
“My idea is to stay at Barca, and as long as the club and the fans want that, there is no problem on my behalf.
“I want to win another Champions League with Barça, and I also want to continue winning LaLiga titles here. My idea is to stay at the club and try to aspire to every honour again. At no time has leaving Barca crossed my mind, and it hasn't now either."
The forward’s future is of particular interest after Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was recently forced to deny rumours he had hired a company to discredit the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Bartomeu admitted at a recent awards ceremony that he did in fact hire public relations company I3 Ventures, but not to improve his own reputation with fans or to harm Messi’s as was suggested, per Juan Jimenez of AS.
Messi was 13 when his family relocated to Barcelona from Rosario, Argentina, in 2001, earning his first-team debut just three years later. He’s gone on to score 622 goals in 714 appearances for the club, winning 23 major titles and countless individual accolades.
In a daunting warning to his opponents, Messi added: “The years go by and you never know, but I feel very good. I feel better overall than in previous seasons."