Barcelona are preparing to offer Lionel Messi a lifetime deal, CEO Oscar Grau announced at the club’s annual general meeting.

Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo have reported Lionel Messi signed a contract extension in June itself. Furthermore, Barcelona have started preparation on a deal that would see the Argentine remain at Camp Nou ‘for life’, in a contract similar to the one signed by Andres Iniesta recently.

Messi joined Barcelona from boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in 2001 as a 14-year-old, and didn’t take long to break into the first-team setup. The player made his senior debut in 2003 – a year in which he represented five different age level sides at Camp Nou – and has since enjoyed a storied career.

In fact, Messi is rightly regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game, having played a pivotal role in Barcelona’s unprecedented success over the last decade or so. In all, the Argentine has made 600 appearances for the Blaugrana and has been one of the most prolific scorers of all time.

In what is one of the most remarkable records for a player, Messi has lifted 30 trophies in his club career – eight La Liga and four Champions League titles, among others. Furthermore, with 523 goals thus far, he is also the all-time leading goalscorer for Barcelona.

Add to that the 198 assists he has provided, and it is not hard to see why Messi is regarded as one of the most valuable players in the club’s history. Thus, it’s not surprising that Barcelona have been doing their all to tie the 30-year-old to a new deal.

Barcelona had announced in July that Messi had signed a new four-year deal that would keep him at Camp Nou till 2021. Recent reports though, had suggested that Messi had only agreed to the deal, and was yet to sign the dotted line, paving the way for suitors like Manchester City to plot a big-money move for him.

It has now emerged that Messi has indeed agreed a four-year deal, as confirmed first by La Liga president Javier Tebas, and now by Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau, who has even claimed that the Catalan club are set to offer a lifetime deal to the player.

“Messi signed a four-year deal in June, but the club will offer him a lifetime contract. The idea is for Leo, who has been here since he was little, to stay here for life because he is an icon. After his playing days we want him to continue to be linked to the club.”

The aforementioned deal would be similar to the one that Andres Iniesta signed last month, and would keep Messi at Camp Nou long after his playing career is over. It remains to be seen though, if he indeed signs such a deal, having previously claimed that he would like to end his career at Newell’s Old Boys.

For now, the news of Messi signing at least a four-year contract would be a news that would have everyone associated with Barcelona heave a huge sigh of relief.

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