Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu is “convinced” Lionel Messi will remain at Barcelona despite having a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for free at the end of the season.

Bartomeu said that he has no doubts about the Argentinian’s loyalty to the Catalan giants and expects him to stay at the club beyond 2021, when his contract expires. Messi arrived at Barcelona as a 13-year-old from Argentina and has established himself as one of the greats of the game.

The forward has helped Barcelona dominate La Liga and has won the Spanish title 10 times in his career. He has also claimed victory in the UEFA Champions League four times and been awarded the Ballon d’Or on five occasions. Messi signed his latest contract extension with Barcelona in 2017. The deal runs until 2021 and contains a buyout clause of €700 million:

The agreement contained a clause that allows him to leave for free at the end of every season and he can only depart for clubs outside Europe,

Messi once noted that he would like to return to Argentina and play for boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys before he retires but was unsure whether the move would be possible. The Barcelona captain has also spoken of his desire to finish his career at Barcelona. Messi racked up 36 goals last season to clinch the European Golden Shoe for a sixth time.

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