Lionel Messi 'Will Never Leave' Barcelona And 'Might Play Until He's 45'
Lionel Messi has spent 18 long and successful years with his beloved FC Barcelona, winning everything there is to win in world football, including five Ballon d'Or trophies, among many other honours.
He will undoubtedly go down as the greatest player in the club's history, so it's no surprise that president Josep Maria Bartomeu wants him to stay for the rest of his playing days.
In fact, the 56-year-old has said that Messi will "never leave" Barcelona and "might even" play until he's 45 years old:
"He might even play until he's 45, who knows?" the president said, via The Guardian.
"We know he'll play three, four, five years more, we don't know how many - as many as he wants. We're preparing: players like [Ousmane] Dembélé, [Clément] Lenglet, Arthur are there to build a team for when Messi stops playing, but I still see it as a long way off.
"I don't think that day is near. And we tell the players who play and train with him: 'Make the most of every minute.'
"We are talking to the family but it's very early to say. He's a footballer. So we talk football. But he will stay here with us. He's a club man."
Bartomeu went on to claim that Messi is a "one-club man" and "will never leave the club,":
"I talk always about Pelé, who was always associated with Santos, the only place he played. Leo belongs to world football, but he has always lived at Barça.
"He will be a one-club man. Leo will never leave. He'll stop playing, but he'll always be with us."
It is clear that every single fibre of his 5′ 7 frame is Barca through and through but back in 2017, Messi did reveal his desire to play for Newell's Old Boys.
He was on the books of Newell's in his hometown of Rosario as a youngster, and it is with Newell's that Messi wishes to see out his career, if possible.
Lionel Messi's registration card for Newell's Old Boys, 1994. pic.twitter.com/dx3rrEcQQ7- 90s Football (@90sfootball) July 20, 2018
However, despite Messi's wishes to return to Newell's, it may not be so easy for the 30-year-old to negotiate a second spell with the Rosario club, as he explained in an interview.
"I still have to play in Newel's and that is my dream but, as I was saying recently, I do not know what will happen a few years from now or how I will be to come back.
"I would love it and I always said it but I hope I can continue at this level to get back to Newell's because it's what I dreamed since I was little".