Will Lionel Messi spend his entire career playing for only one club? That remains to be seen, as we have heard rumors of teams trying to pry the Argentine star out of Barcelona for quite some time. However, it looks like he will remain in Spain for the foreseeable future.
After locking up Neymar and Suarez to a new deal that will last until 2021, Messi is the only one of the dynamic trio without a new extension. But fear not, the club and Messi are reportedly set to negotiate a new contract extension soon, and president Josep Maria Bartomeu envisions that new deal making Messi the highest paid player in the world.
Here's everything you need to know about the negotiations between Messi and Barcelona.
What's Messi's current deal?
Messi's current contract expires in the summer of 2018. We are currently 18 months from his deal expiring, and that is usually when teams are getting a bit nervous about coming to terms on a new deal. When a player's contract in close to expiring (in final months), they can potentially sign with another club on a free transfer. That likely won't be the case here, and it's certainly something Barcelona would want to avoid.
What did the president say?
The president is confident a deal will get done.
"There are no doubts that sooner or later we will close [Messi's] renewal," Bartomeu said.
"I hope that he ends his sporting career here and after that I'm sure he will remain linked to the club. He is without doubt the best player in the history of the game and we will make a huge effort to renew his contract."
Does this mean Messi will stay at Barcelona?
It simply means that they are confident in a deal getting done, and the general belief is that Messi will stay in Spain. There is no guarantee, however, but it seems much more likely that he will re-sign rather than leave. This should calm the nerves of any Barcelona fans. Make no mistake -- if Messi were not to re-sign, it would be one of the more shocking decisions in recent soccer history. It would be like LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers and taking his "talents to South Beach."
Will he really be highest paid in the world?
Bartomeu said Messi is the best in the world and should be paid as such. Cristiano Ronaldo makes over $430,000 a week, so Messi's deal would need to eclipse that and others. Carlos Tevez, Messi's former teammate with the Argentina national team, is about to make over $700,000 a week in China.
If there's any club out there that can pay Messi that kind of money, it's Barcelona. Is Messi worth all that money? Considering his track record and the kind of video game-like moves he puts in night in and night out, absolutely. That said, it's hard to envision Barcelona keeping its core while paying Messi that kind of dough.