Barcelona preparing lifetime contract for Lionel Messi
According to a report by Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona is preparing a contract extension for Lionel Messi that would see him stay at Barcelona for the rest of his playing career and possibly beyond.
Triggered by the recent revelation that Messi's current contract, signed in 2017 and good through the summer of 2021, has an opt-out clause this coming summer, the two sides are set to discuss the next step in his career. According to the Mundo Deportivo report, there is no hurry or tension in the current contract situation, as the club feels Messi is fully committed to Barcelona and has shown such loyalty on a number of occasions.
Still, the report states Barcelona has been carefully considering and constructing a lifetime contract for quite some time now, and is prepared to present the final product soon. The report does imply that the contract could include a position with the club following the end of his playing days, but does not explicitly state what that role would be or discuss how Messi would be involved with the club.
The report does note that Messi is likely to continue playing through the 2022 World Cup before considering retirement. It also interestingly states that he has long wished to return for at least a few months to his first club Newell's Old Boys in Argentina before fully retiring, which Barcelona would be reportedly open to allowing in his lifetime contract.
Messi's agent – his father Jorge Messi – is reportedly “in no hurry” to sit down and begin negotiations given the good relationship between the two sides, suggesting sincere confidence in the ability to come to an agreement.
Recently, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted that the Gunners attempted to bring Messi to the Emirates back in 2003 alongside Cesc Fabregas. At the time, Messi was just a Barcelona youth player, yet to make his senior team debut. Still, Wenger says Arsenal failed as Barcelona could already see Messi's talent and considered him “untouchable.”