Bartomeu: Messi will renew contract

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has addressed the futures of captain Lionel Messi and head coach Quique Setién.

Lionel Messi will sign a new Barcelona contract, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted.

Messi, 33, has been linked with an exit amid reports the Barça captain is ready to quit Camp Nou once his contract expires in 2021.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has reportedly halted contract negotiations due to his frustrations with Barça – who are on track to be dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga this season.

Messi “wants to finish his career here”, says Barcelona chief
But Bartomeu is confident all-time leading goalscorer Messi will retire at the club after making his debut in 2004.

“We have talked, we are talking and we will talk to Messi,” Bartomeu told TV3. “He wants to finish his career here. We will renew it [contract] for sure, I have no doubt that he will continue here.”

Messi set up Arturo Vidal for the match-winning goal in Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Real Valladolid.

It was Messi’s 20th assist of the LaLiga season as he reached a notable double in the league, becoming the first player since Thierry Henry in 2002-03 to score and create 20-plus goals in a single campaign across Europe’s top five leagues.

Bartomeu on Setién: “We are not looking for a coach, we are with Quique”
The victory kept Barça’s slim title hopes alive amid doubts over the future of head coach Quique Setién.

Setién replaced Ernesto Valverde in January but the former Real Betis boss has struggled to convince, with Barça one point behind leaders Madrid – who can restore their four-point lead atop the table against Granada on Monday.

Barça are also preparing for next month’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Napoli following the coronavirus-enforced break. The first leg ended 1-1.

Asked about Setién, Bartomeu said: “Quique Setién will be on the team for the Champions League. The will is for him to be the coach next season, our intention is to fulfil the contracts.”

Barça great Xavi Hernández had been linked to the hot seat prior to Setién’s appointment and before signing a new contract with Qatari outfit Al-Sadd.

“Xavi will be a coach for Barça sooner or later but now we are not looking for a coach, we are with Quique,” Bartomeu added.