Lionel Messi insists ‘Barcelona is my home but I need to see a winning team to stay’

FC Barcelona v Arsenal - Pre-Season Friendly

Lionel Messi enjoys a status at Barcelona like no other footballer at any other club.

The Argentine superstar has been an icon of the Blaugrana for the best part of 15 years, scoring 603 senior goals in 687 appearances.

Messi’s haul of 34 trophies - which includes ten La Liga titles, four Champions League titles and six Copa del Reys - is unmatched by any Barcelona player in history.

But now more than ever, fans are worrying about how many more times they’ll see the 32-year-old grace the Nou Camp pitch.

That’s because club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed Messi is free to leave at the end of the season due to a clause in his contract.

“Messi has a contract that we signed two years ago and it runs for four years,” he said, per The Independent.

“Before the last season, 2020-21, he can leave Barcelona, retire from football or play where he likes.”

Either of those outcomes is an unpleasant prospect for supporters of the Catalonians.

Well, in a wide-ranging interview with Spanish newspaper Sport, Messi has addressed concerns over his immediate future, suggesting he’ll stay put as long as Barcelona are competing for silverware.

FC Barcelona v Arsenal - Pre-Season Friendly

“I can’t confirm anything because there are confidentiality agreements in our contracts. What I can say is that I want to be at Barcelona as long as possible,” he said.

“I’ve said throughout my career that this is my home. But I also don’t want to have a long-term contract and only be here because of it.

“I want to be here because physically I’m fine, to play and be an important member of the squad. And as I said before, I need to see there’s a winning team because I want to keep winning things at this club.

“For me, money or a clause don’t mean anything. Other things motivate me and the most important thing is having a winning team.

“It’s clear I would like to win the Champions League because it’s been a long time since I last did that. As a club, and on a personal level, we must win the Champions League.”

Messi hasn’t tasted European glory since 2015, nor have Barcelona made any of the last four finals.

No wonder the forward is desperate to add a fifth Champions League crown to his honours list - it’s the one that would draw him level with Cristiano Ronaldo.

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