Barcelona hoping for Messi contract extension as Bartomeu admits retirement talk worries him

Barcelona are hoping to see Lionel Messi commit to another contract at Camp Nou, with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu admitting to being “worried” about retirement talk surrounding an Argentine superstar.

A talismanic presence in Catalunya is already tied to terms through to 2021, but that agreement includes an exit clause which allows a six-time Ballon d’Or winner to walk away at the end of any given season.

Bartomeu has no fears when it comes to Messi seeing out his career with the reigning La Liga champions, but is looking for him to agree further fresh terms and end any uncertainty surrounding his future.

The 32-year-old is considered to still have plenty of football left in him, with his exploits in 2019 proving as much as he has landed another Golden Ball and returned to the very top of the global game.

Bartomeu told Radio Catalunya: “I am worried about the day Messi retires.

“I would like him to sign another contract. (His current deal) ends in 2021. He still has time ahead of him, we've spoken many times about it.

“He doesn't have any problem with continuing at Barca. I have no doubt that he will play here until he retires, that he's committed to the club.

“There are no doubts about him ending his career here and ending it when he wants. We will give him as many contracts as he wants, I hope he can sign one more with me as president. “

He added on how long Messi has left: “Hopefully, he's got a while yet. He's 32, he has time ahead of him.

“In addition, we have young talent from La Masia. Ansu Fati has renewed his deal, but there's also (Carles) Alena, Frenkie de Jong's just signed, (Marc-Andre) Ter Stegen, (Ousmane) Dembele.

“We have to prepare for the future with the younger players. The day that Messi leaves, the game will be different.”

Ernesto Valverde Barcelona 2019-20

Messi is not the only high-profile figure to have seen his future called into question, with it also suggested that Ernesto Valverde could soon be heading to pastures new.

He is tied to a deal through to the end of the 2020-21 campaign, but also has the option to step away from a demanding managerial post next summer.

Bartomeu added on a man who has led Barca to back-to-back league titles and is currently chasing down a hat-trick: “He has a deal until 2021 but in spring there's an option where he can decide if he wants to continue or not. All coaches have had it.

“In his contract, he can decide or we can. Continuing depends on many variables. Rijkaard was five years here, Guardiola four, Luis Enrique three.”

Quizzed on whether Valverde is showing signs of exhaustion, Bartomeu added: “No way, he's motivated still.

“I want success, for things to go well this season and above all to link this generation which has won everything with the new one coming through that wants to win everything.”