‘New Barcelona contract for Messi would be no surprise’ – Rivaldo can see Argentine ending exit talk

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2019-20
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The Blaugrana legend is pleased to see the Argentine superstar staying put and believes he could yet commit to an extension beyond the summer of 2021

Lionel Messi completing his turnaround at Barcelona and signing a new contract with the Liga giants would come as no surprise to Blaugrana legend Rivaldo.

The Argentine superstar appeared destined to head for the exits at Camp Nou after stating a desire to move on in the wake of a forgettable end to the 2019-20 campaign.

His path was to be blocked, though, and the six-time Ballon d’Or winner later revealed to Goal that he will be sticking around for another season in Catalunya.

A change of scenery could still be taken in during the summer of 2021, as he has less than 12 months left to run on his current deal, but Rivaldo can see the 33-year-old extending his association with the only side that he has represented at club level.

The former Barca star told Betfair, with changes being made on and off the field that could convince a talismanic figure to sign fresh terms: “Last week Lionel Messi said he would stay at Barcelona until his contract expires at the end of this season. But I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed at the club beyond his current deal.

“A lot could happen this season, as Barcelona begin life under new manager Ronaldo Koeman and elections for club president take place in March.

“Messi criticised the current president Josep Bartomeu, so if a new president is elected in March, perhaps Messi will decide to stay.

“Messi has his life in the city, his family enjoy living there and the fans have great affection for him. These are reasons to stay and perhaps with a new president, who understands Messi's needs and can persuade him that the club is heading in the right direction, can persuade him to extend his contract.

“He loves Barcelona, and nowadays players are fit enough to prolong their careers at the highest level, so I can see Messi playing for them until he's 38 years old.”

Rivaldo has already stated his belief that a loyal fan base at Camp Nou will hold no grudge against a man who wanted out, while the mercurial South American is expected to continue giving everything to the collective cause.

“Many people are questioning Messi's commitment after asking to leave the club, but I have no doubt that he will be the same player this season, always trying his best for the club he loves,” added World Cup winner Rivaldo.

“Of course, he might not start right away after all these problems during the summer, but even in his poorer seasons he scored 30-odd goals, so I'm sure he'll continue to make the difference for the team.”