Lionel Messi will stay at Barcelona and still wants to end his career there, club president Josep Bartomeu said Tuesday in an interview with Barca TV. It's been a wild few days for the Catalan club after the shocking 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich on Friday in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.
After the match, the; ; and on Tuesday, sporting director . As the club awaits the appointment of Ronald Koeman as manager, Bartomeu may have eased the concerns of fans that Messi could be on his way out.
"Messi wants to end his career at Barca, he has said that many times. I've spoken to Koeman about him and he has told me Messi will be the pillar of his project," Bartomeu said. "Messi has a contract with Barca until 2021. I speak to him and his father regularly, and they know that we have a solid project, that a new coach is coming and that he will count on him."
Josep Bartomeu, Barcelona president: “Messi wants to end his career at Barça. I regularly speak to him and his father. He’s part of our project. Koeman will be the new manager and he told me that Messi is a key player for our new project”. 🔵🔴 #FCB #Barcelona— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 18, 2020
Messi hasn't spoken publicly after the UCL debacle, and it would obviously be hard to envision him playing for another club team.
Only a handful of teams could afford him, like PSG and Manchester City, but there is no doubt that work has to be done to fully convince him to want to stay at Barca. The squad is aging and the window to win may be closed unless they revamp the squad. If they do, they have to hope they hit on their transfers. The club has invested so much money into new players over the years that haven't panned out for them yet, like Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann.
Messi and Barcelona went without winning a trophy this season for the first time in over a decade. The club lost out on the La Liga title to rival Real Madrid after stumbling down the stretch.