Messi will retire at Barcelona in three or four years - Bartomeu

By Sports Desk August 05, 2020

Lionel Messi will retire as a Barcelona player in "three or four years", according to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi has a contract at Camp Nou until the end of the 2020-21 season, but Bartomeu last month said he expects the superstar forward to sign an extension.

The 33-year-old has been linked with a return to boyhood club Newell's Old Boys before hanging up his boots.

However, Bartomeu has no doubt Barca's all-time leading goalscorer Messi will end his career with the Catalan giants, which could happen by 2023.

"It's not just me who says it. Messi says it himself, that he wants to finish his professional playing career at Barcelona and it's the only club for him," Bartomeu told beIN SPORTS.

"I don't have any doubt that when he finishes his football career in three or four years that it will be here in Barcelona.

"Messi has it very clear. He's been here since he was a kid. He knows the colours and he's a part of the club's history.

"He's the best player in the world. Not just right now, but in the history of the game. He's at Barcelona and has made clear he wants to stay here."

Another priority for Bartomeu is tying goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen down to a new contract, as his existing deal has just two years left on it.

"Marc is an excellent player and person, he has always shown that as a goalkeeper," said Bartomeu.

"With the current situation with COVID-19, he said, 'Let's hope everything is calmer to talk about it in the future.' But his future is to renew with Barca.

"We have a goalkeeper for many years because he is young. When everything passes, we will talk with Marc to finalise his renewal."

Despite being yet to play a game for Barca, Francisco Trincao and Pedri have been linked with exits from Camp Nou.

Trincao is reportedly a target for Leicester City, while Bayern Munich are said to have an interest in Pedri.

Bartomeu has no plans to sell either player as Barca prepare for the future with a new generation of talent.

"Trincao and Pedri are not for sale," he said. "Young players are coming who will be the stars in a few years."

Related items

  • Ruben Dias to Man City: Pep Guardiola's defender spending continues Ruben Dias to Man City: Pep Guardiola's defender spending continues

    Pep Guardiola and defenders. It's been an expensive exercise for Manchester City.

    Still trying to fill the glaring void left by long-serving captain Vincent Kompany in 2019, and reeling after a stunning 5-2 Premier League drubbing at the hands of Leicester City, Manchester City have turned to Ruben Dias.

    Benfica and Portugal centre-back Dias will cost City an initial £62million (€68m), plus £2.1m (€3.6m) in add-ons should the 23-year-old trigger various performance-related clauses.

    Sunday's announcement, with Nicolas Otamendi set to move in the opposite direction, takes Guardiola's spending as City manager on defenders to in excess of £410m (€451m) since 2016.

    While City have won two Premier League titles under Guardiola, the team's defence remains an Achilles heel, especially in pursuit of European glory.

    As City welcome Dias to Manchester, we look at Guardiola's previous defender signings while in the Citizens dugout.

     

    Ruben Dias €68m (£62m)

    He is Guardiola's latest big-money defensive signing. Previously linked to the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham, Dias arrives having emerged from Benfica's academy ahead of the 2017-18 season. He helped Benfica to Primeira Liga glory in 2018-19.

    Joao Cancelo €65m (£59m)

    The full-back position is a complex area for Guardiola, whose formation often centres on inverted full-backs and overloads. City splashed the cash on Cancelo last year but question marks remain over the 26-year-old Portugal international.

    Aymeric Laporte €65m (£59m)

    Of all of Guardiola's recruits in central defence, Laporte is the only one to truly convince. However, Laporte's fitness has proven a problem since being prised away from Athletic Bilbao two years ago.

    Benjamin Mendy €57.5m (£52m)

    A key member in Monaco's memorable run to the 2016-17 Champions League semi-finals and triumphant Ligue 1 campaign, Mendy arrived amid much fanfare in 2017. Mendy's off-field activities and his knee issues have prevented City from seeing the best of the France international left-back week in, week out.

    John Stones €55.6m (£50m)

    Identified as the ideal ball-playing centre-back to fit into Guardiola's system, it has not gone according to plan for Stones, who left Everton in 2016. After a promising start to life, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss appears to have lost faith in the often-injured Englishman.

    Kyle Walker €52.7m (£48m)

    Walker has served well under Guardiola, having joined as one of the best players in the league in 2017. Aside from a couple of dips in form and questionable off-field choices, the ex-Tottenham full-back remains important to what Pep is trying to achieve in Manchester.

    Nathan Ake €45.3m (£41m)

    Ake was the first defender through the door ahead of the 2020-21 season after City were dethroned by Liverpool last term. Lured away from relegated Bournemouth, the left-footed centre-back has started both of City's Premier League fixtures, scoring in the humbling defeat to Leicester.

    Danilo €30m (£27m)

    The Brazilian full-back is no longer a City player. Part of the deal that saw Cancelo swap Juventus for City in 2019, Danilo arrived as a LaLiga champion and two-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid. But the 29-year-old never really convinced in a City shirt.

    Angelino €12m (£10.9m)

    Part of City's youth team from 2013, Angelino eventually left for Dutch giants PSV five years later. After impressing in Eindhoven, City triggered their buy-back clause to re-sign the Spaniard in July 2019. Angelino made 12 appearances before being loaned out to RB Leipzig in the second half of last season. Despite interest from Barca, he is back on loan in Leipzig.

    Oleksandr Zinchenko €2m (£1.8m)

    The 23-year-old left-back was plucked from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2016. Following a couple of loan spells, Guardiola has often called on Zinchenko, who played 19 Premier League matches in 2019-20.

  • Rumour Has It: Sancho's Man Utd transfer expected to be completed Rumour Has It: Sancho's Man Utd transfer expected to be completed

    Will he or won't he?

    That's the question regarding Jadon Sancho and a possible move to Manchester United.

    United, however, are reportedly bullish about their chances of prising the England international from Borussia Dortmund.

     

    TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER CONFIDENT IN SANCHO PURSUIT

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho he expects the blockbuster transfer to be completed, according to Dagbladet.

    United have so far been unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund, who refuse to budge on their £108million (€120m) asking price, with the transfer window set to close on October 5.

    However, Solskjaer appears confident of landing his number one target.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Barcelona could announce the signing of Ajax full-back Sergino Dest on Tuesday, reports Fabrizio Romano. Bayern Munich are also trying to prise the United States international from Amsterdam.

    - The Telegraph says Tottenham are eyeing Bournemouth forward Josh King, who was previously linked to United.

    United are closing in on Porto full-back Alex Telles. Romano claims personal terms have been agreed, with final details and agents commission remaining as United and Porto negotiate a fee.

    - The Guardian reports Tottenham have not given up on signing Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar. Inter are holding out for £55m (€60m) but Spurs are only prepared to pay between €30m-€35m. Napoli's Nikola Maksimovic could reportedly replace Skriniar in Milan.

    - According to L'Equipe, Leeds United are nearing a deal to sign Bayern midfielder Michael Cuisance. Leeds have been unable to meet Udinese's demands for star Rodrigo De Paul.

    Marcelo Brozovic has realised Inter want to sell him as the Croatia international eyes an exit, reports Calciomercato. It comes as Inter chase Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, who has since been linked to United.

    - Romano says Milan are confident of completing a deal for Bodo/Glimt star Jens Petter Hauge, who impressed during the Europa League qualifier at San Siro.

  • Koulibaly tipped to stay at Napoli as nervous Gattuso waits for transfer window to close Koulibaly tipped to stay at Napoli as nervous Gattuso waits for transfer window to close

    Napoli director Cristiano Giuntoli believes star defender Kalidou Koulibaly will remain at the Serie A club, despite links to Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

    Koulibaly had been strongly linked with Premier League giants City but Pep Guardiola's side agreed a deal to sign Benfica centre-back Ruben Dias on Sunday.

    Ligue 1 champions PSG are also reportedly interested following Thiago Silva's departure, while the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have been linked previously.

    Asked about Koulibaly prior to Sunday's 6-0 demolition of Genoa, Giuntoli told Sky Sport Italia: "The team was completed in January with Stanislav Lobotka and Diego Demme, who can play in a few different roles. With Amir Rrahmani, [Victor] Osimhen and [Andrea] Petagna, we are complete, so will now try to release players who won't have much time on the pitch.

    "I think Koulibaly is staying, we are very happy and so is he. I believe that he is staying."

    Koulibaly helped keep a clean sheet as high-flying Napoli preserved their perfect start to the season against Genoa.

    Napoli are yet to concede in two Serie A fixtures this season, while scoring eight goals to top the standings.

    Gennaro Gattuso was also quizzed on Koulibaly following Giuntoli's comments and the Napoli head coach told Sky Sport Italia post-match: "I hope he remains with us, selfishly speaking, because he gives us so much both in technical terms and as a character.

    "The world has changed because of the pandemic and I realise all clubs need to balance the books. I hope the call won't arrive, but I'll be nervous about it until transfer deadline day."

    Senegal international Koulibaly has called Napoli home since arriving from Genk in 2014.

    The 29-year-old was instrumental as Napoli claimed the Coppa Italia title last season – the club's first piece of silverware since 2014.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.