ESPN: Barca set to offer Messi new long-term contract
- Leo's current contract expires in 2021.
- There is an option to renew him for one more year.
- Bartomeu wants the Argentine at the club at least until he's 36.
According to top source ESPN, Barcelona are set to open negotiations with Leo Messi over a contract renewal. The 32-year-old's current deal ends on June 30, 2021, but there is an option to prolong it for another 12 months. The last time the Argentine renewed his deal was back in 2017.
Nonetheless, Barca's president Josep Maria Bartomeu is set to offer the captain a new deal. Allegedly, the president wants to keep Messi at the club at least until 2023, which means the player will be 36 by then.
Curiously enough, highly-credible source when it comes to Barcelona-related rumours Graham Hunter predicted the negotiations, claiming that Messi could have some very specific demands, more precisely, Neymar's return to Camp Nou:
"Messi is a central player in all of this. Messi is not a stroppy player - people have portrayed him as such falsely. But when he sneezes, Barcelona catches a cold.
"[Josep Maria] Bartomeu, the president, has said before he leaves - and he must quit the club in 2021 at the latest - he wants to leave Messi renewed once more.
"Whether Messi is saying 'get me Neymar' or whether he's whispering 'before we sit down to negotiate, I want the front line reinforced with Neymar', the fact is: Messi wants Neymar back.
"He, [Luis] Suarez and Neymar - even though they're different characters - are very friendly. Messi found a partner that understood him technically, who served him and who created masses of space. The last time Barcelona won the treble, they had that 'MSN' up front.
"It's clear Messi believes his route back to the Champions League isn't just Neymar specifically, but more people supplying goals around him. Messi is saying 'if you want me to sign a new contract, first renew Neymar'."
Are Barcelona right to offer Leo a contract until 2023?