Barcelona preparing for post-Messi era – Bartomeu

By Sports Desk May 02, 2019

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists the LaLiga champions are already preparing for life after Lionel Messi, but he expects the star to play a few more years.

Messi, 31, delivered another masterclass as Barca beat Liverpool 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.

The star forward struck with an incredible free-kick to bring up 600 goals at Barcelona, the club he joined at 13.

While Bartomeu feels Messi will remain at Barca for several more years, he said they were slowly planning for the future.

"He might even play until he's 45, who knows? We know he'll play three, four, five years more, we don't know how many – as many as he wants," he said, via The Guardian.

"We're preparing. Players like [Ousmane] Dembele, [Clement] 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.

"I talk always about Pele, who was always associated with Santos, the only place he played. Leo belongs to world football, but he has always lived at Barca. He will be a one-club man. Leo will never leave. He'll stop playing, but he'll always be with us."

Messi is a five-time Ballon d'Or winner among numerous other honours, having helped Barca claim 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues.

Bartomeu said that while Messi was incredible, he had made his feats seem normal.

"Leo is a genius and it's been so, so many seasons, so, so many games," he said. "We live an extraordinary era but for our fans, it feels normal."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Pogba contract a priority for Man United Rumour Has It: Pogba contract a priority for Man United

    Manchester United will not give up on extending Paul Pogba's stay at Old Trafford.

    Pogba, 26, was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid during the close season, despite being contracted at United until 2021, with the club also reportedly holding the option for a further 12 months.

    The LaLiga giants are reportedly still interested in the France midfielder, but United have plans of their own.

     

    TOP STORY – POGBA CONTRACT A PRIORITY FOR MAN UNITED

    Manchester United are looking to sign Pogba on a long-term deal, according to the Evening Standard.

    New contracts for Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood are priorities for the Premier League giants, the report says.

    It comes after United re-signed goalkeeper David de Gea and defender Victor Lindelof.

    ROUND-UP

    - Amid tension with fellow goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Manuel Neuer is considering his Germany future. Bild reports Neuer, 33, could end his international career after Euro 2020.

    - Barcelona teenager Ansu Fati is set to get a Spanish passport next Friday, according to AS. Portugal have reportedly made advances for the talented 16-year-old forward, but Fati looks set to be ready to feature for Spain at the Under-17 World Cup beginning in October.

    - Luca Pellegrini may be on loan at Cagliari, but his future appears to be at Juventus. The Serie A champions are keen to keep the 20-year-old defender for the long-term, according to Calciomercato.

    - Chelsea have received some good news on the injury front. The Sun and the Mirror report midfielder Mason Mount could face Liverpool on Sunday despite suffering an ankle sprain in Tuesday's Champions League loss to Valencia.

    - Bayer Leverkusen decided to reward midfielder Kai Havertz in the close season. According to Bild, the Bundesliga club handed the five-time Germany international a wage increase from €2m to more than €5m per season.

    - Paul Mitchell has opted against returning to the Premier League. Sky Sports News reports Mitchell will leave his role as head of recruitment and development at RB Leipzig at the end of the month to become technical director of Red Bull's global soccer division. The report says as many as four Premier League clubs were after the former Tottenham and Southampton recruitment chief.

  • MLS Review: Martinez extends scoring streak to 15 games, Red Bulls win MLS Review: Martinez extends scoring streak to 15 games, Red Bulls win

    Josef Martinez's incredible form continued for Atlanta United, while New York Red Bulls are on track to reach the MLS play-offs.

    Martinez scored for the 15th consecutive MLS game, netting a brace in Atlanta's 2-0 win away to FC Cincinnati on Wednesday.

    Coming off back-to-back losses, reigning champions Atlanta needed until just before the hour-mark to open the scoring against their struggling hosts.

    Josef Martinez led a lightning counter-attack, exchanging passes with Pity Martinez before finishing clinically in a one-on-one with Cincinnati goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton.

    Atlanta's Josef Martinez struck again in the 65th minute to wrap up victory for Frank de Boer's men.

    The Venezuela international controlled a pass from Julian Gressel with a brilliant flick before beating two defenders and finishing into the top corner.

    Atlanta are third in the Eastern Conference, while Cincinnati are bottom after 22 losses in 31 league games this season.

    The Red Bulls consolidated their play-off spot with a 2-0 victory over Portland Timbers at Providence Park.

    After Kyle Duncan's powerful early strike, Daniel Royer scored a penalty in additional time.

    The Red Bulls are sixth in the east, seven points clear of eighth-placed Montreal Impact with three regular-season games to play.

    Dallas climbed above the Timbers and into seventh in the Western Conference after a 0-0 draw away to Seattle Sounders.

  • Tigres UANL 1-2 Cruz Azul: Yotun and Rodriguez inspire Leagues Cup glory Tigres UANL 1-2 Cruz Azul: Yotun and Rodriguez inspire Leagues Cup glory

    Cruz Azul defeated Mexican rivals Tigres UANL 2-1 in the Leagues Cup final to lift the trophy.

    In the inaugural edition of the interleague competition between MLS and Liga MX clubs, Cruz Azul triumphed in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

    Two goals in as many minutes from Yoshimar Yotun and Jonathan Rodriguez inspired six-time CONCACAF Champions League winners Cruz Azul in the all-Mexican final.

    Guido Pizarro pulled a goal back in the 90th minute but Tigres were forced to settle for another runners-up finish in international cup competition, having lost Champions League finals in 2016, 2017 and 2019, while they were beaten in the 2015 Copa Libertadores decider.

    After a goalless opening half, Cruz Azul – who trumped LA Galaxy in the semi-finals – broke the deadlock via Peru international Yotun.

    Yotun converted a 73rd-minute penalty before Rodriguez doubled the lead two minutes later following his last-gasp winner for Uruguay during the international break.

    Former Sevilla midfielder Pizarro's late header gave Tigres – who beat America on penalties in the semis – some hope in Nevada but it was too little, too late for Ricardo Ferretti's men.

    Tigres finished the match with 10 men after goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman was sent off in the 97th minute for an apparent elbow off the ball.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.