Messi to stay: Barcelona chief
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said that captain Lionel Messi will end his career at the Catalan club, dismissing a report saying the Argentine no longer wishes to renew his current contract when it expires next year.
“Messi has said he will end his working and footballing life at Barca,” Bartomeu told a Spanish network after his side beat Villarreal 4-1 away on Sunday. “I’m not going to explain the details because we are focused on the competition and we are negotiating with many players but Messi has explained to us that he wants to stay and so we’re going to enjoy him for much longer.”
The 33-year-old Messi, who signed his last contract in 2017, has become more outspoken against the club’s hierarchy and radio station Cadena Ser said last Thursday that he wants to leave in 2021.
The win kept Barca in the title hunt with La Liga leaders Real Madrid, who hold a four-point advantage after beating Athletic Bilbao 1-0 on Sunday thanks to a late penalty by Sergio Ramos.
An own goal from Pau Torres put Barca in front in the third minute, with Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno levelling on the rebound in the 14th before the visitors restored their lead six minutes later. Antoine Griezmann stretched Barca’s advantage just before the break with a sublime chip, while 17-year-old Ansu Fati added a fourth in the second half.