I want to renew Barça star Leo Messi forever — Bartomeu

Ronaldo's absence can be felt at Real Madrid. EFE

Ronaldo's absence can be felt at Real Madrid. EFE

'We would like to renew his contract, that's the idea.

Lionel Messi could land a bumper new contract worth £175million with Barcelona desperate for him to commit his long-term future to the club.

Spanish champions Barcelona have confirmed their readiness to offer Argentine football star Lionel Messi another contract that will make him remain at Nou Camp until he retires.

"He's always improving, always innovating".

"Lionel has crossed the borders of clubs". It's more than what he does on the pitch - his relationship with Barca will last forever. "Everyone admires him and he's applauded at other stadiums by rival fans", Bartomeu told ESPN, referring to a recent ovation from Real Betis supporters.

Whether Messi will spend his entire playing career at Camp Nou remains to be seen.

Messi has won nine La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and six Copa del Rey crowns, with Barcelona eight points clear in the league and in another domestic cup final already this season. I use the example of Pele, who was always at Santos.

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Looking to a time when the forward stops playing, Bartomeu said: "Messi knows his body well and the day he believes he can't add [to the team], he will leave".

"We are preparing our club for the future, for the time post-Leo".

He has 42 goals for club and country while his 32 scored in La Liga have propelled Barca to within touching distance of their fourth league title in five years.

Pep Guardiola, once a player at the Catalan club, was the manager of Barça during their most successful period, and Barcelona have not forgotten this, leaving the door wide open for a Guardiola return at any time. So, it's a way of working, of investing, also of taking risks.

"We want Messi to always be at Barca, whether that's playing or linked to the club (when he's retired)".

Josep Maria Bartomeu (L) said: 'He's still young.

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