Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has confirmed that the club are in talks about extending Lionel Messi’s contract.
Messi has been at the Camp Nou since his senior career began there in 2005, with the Argentine last putting pen to paper on fresh terms in November 2017.
The 32-year-old’s current contract expires in the summer of 2021 but speaking to Spanish news outlet Sport, Abidal said that he hopes the forward extends his terms again to see him through to retirement.
“[Messi] is a key player for us,” Abidal said. “And [he] has the option of leaving at the end of his current deal. But I know the president is talking to his representatives to ensure the contract is closed once and for all.
“I hope he stays for many years, and I think that will be the case. It will be Leo’s decision. And as he says, Barcelona first and foremost. He is the best.”
Abidal was also asked about whether he believes Barca‘s current squad is better than the one that won the La Liga title and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last season.
“The squad is better than last season,” he continued. “When you look at the players, not only do they have talent, but they also have personality.
“In sport mentality can make the difference. If a team has the mentality to achieve a goal, it will do just that. I am convinced of it. Two hundred percent.”
Messi has played 698 games in all competitions for Barca to date, scoring 612 goals and assisting 247 others in that time.