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Lionel Messi

'Messi has to finish his career at Barcelona' - Koeman confident new contract will be announced 'soon'

3:17 AM EDT 6/18/21
Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21
The Blaugrana boss believes fresh terms will be agreed with a talismanic figure at Camp Nou, preventing him from hitting free agency

Ronald Koeman says Lionel Messi "has to finish his career at Barcelona", with the Blaugrana boss expecting a contract extension for the mercurial Argentine to be announced "soon".

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner is yet to make an official decision on his future, with the 33-year-old still seeing his current deal run down towards free agency.

The expectation is, however, that he will extend a career-long association with the Liga heavyweights, with fresh terms on the table and ready to be signed.

What has been said?

Koeman told Sport when asked for an update on a long-running saga in Catalunya: "Messi has to finish his career at Barcelona, so I hope we can make it official soon."

Who else has been discussing Messi?

Barca president Joan Laporta has stated on a regular basis, even before he returned to office at Camp Nou, that he believes Messi will stay put.

That message has been reiterated, although he has suggested that paperwork will not be completed imminently by a man currently away on Copa America duty with his country.

"The renewal isn’t at an advanced stage," Laporta has admitted. 

"It’s okay, I believe that Leo’s boots will stay on Camp Nou’s pitch. 

"I can’t contemplate a no from Messi; he wants to stay. We’re doing what we can but there’s no need to seduce him."

Any other business?

While waiting on a call from Messi, Barca are working hard to put more pieces of a trophy-winning puzzle in place alongside their iconic captain.

Deals have been done for Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, while Memphis Depay is expected to complete a switch from Lyon as a free agent.

Koeman is pleased with progress being made on the recruitment front, with the Dutchman adding: "We are working on building a competitive team, one that will be much stronger than in previous seasons."

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