Barcelona want to offer Lionel Messi a lifetime contract

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How long does Lionel Messi have left at the top? 

The Argentine shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 32, averaging a goal every 55.3 minutes in La Liga last season. 

Perhaps as the years advance he'll have to adapt his game again, just as Cristiano Ronaldo has done at Juventus. 

Ronaldo no longer relies on speed in the way he used to but can still be considered - at the very least  - in the top three players in the world. 

Barcelona are confident Messi still has many years left in him. In fact, the Blaugrana are even confident he'll still be putting in GOAT displays after the 2022 World Cup. 

That's all well and good, but president Josep Maria Bartomeu needs to ensure Messi hasn't left Catalonia by then. 

Bartomeu confirmed recently that the forward has a clause in his existing contract that allows him to leave for free on June 30 every year, should he choose to do so. 

Messi has spoken publicly in the past about his desire to return to Newell's Old Boys where it all began. 

Yet Barca are now planning to avoid that by tempting him with a lifetime contract, one that would also guarantee him a job at the club when he finishes playing. 

That's according to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo. 

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The deal wouldn't necessarily tie him to Barcelona permanently, it would seem, as Andres Iniesta penned a similar extension in 2017 before joining Japanese side Vissel Kobe just seven months later.

Convincing Messi to commit his future would be a weight off Bartomeu's mind, at least. 

In his absence at the start of the season, as he's been struggling to shake off a calf injury, his teammates have struggled.

On the opening night of the La Liga campaign, they slumped to a shock last-minute defeat to Athletic Bilbao. A 5-2 victory over Real Betis followed, but since then they've also drawn 2-2 with Osasuna. 

As questions continue to be raised about Ernesto Valverde's tactics, it seems Barcelona are more reliant on Messi than ever. 

He saved his manager's skin on numerous occasions last season, scoring or assisting 54.5% of Barcelona's 90 league goals last term. 

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