Lionel Messi: One-club man?

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Lionel Messi is reportedly set to be offered a new deal to stay at Barcelona despite still having four years to run on his contract.

The three-time Ballon d'Or winner has earned a new, improved deal according to Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, who revealed it would be "irresponsible" not to offer Messi a fresh contract.

The 25-year-old is the best player in the world, and scored an unbelievable 72 goals for the Catalans last season.

He joined the club as a 13-year-old back in 2000, and if he signs a new deal past 2016 it would make it extremely likely that Messi stays in Catalonia for his entire professional career.

Regarded as one of the best players in the history of football, Messi plays on one of the most successful teams of all-time, alongside world-class players like Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

The motivations to leave the Nou Camp are small then, perhaps only the lure of extreme wealth from Manchester City or Paris St Germain could tempt the Argentinian.

But Messi is a grounded individual, and doesn't come across as the sort of player keen to chase such extrinsic rewards.

Should he stay at the Nou Camp, he would join an elite group of players who have stayed at the highest level, at one-club, for their entire careers.

At Manchester United the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have held court since the early 90s - facilitating a remarkable period of individual and team dominance enjoyed by the red side of Manchester.

At Chelsea, John Terry is likely to see out his playing days at Chelsea, and could even move into a coaching role at Stamford Bridge upon retiring.

The Blues legend came through the ranks at Stamford Bridge, going on to captain England and Chelsea.

Across London, Tony Adams made over 504 league appearances for Arsenal across a 19-year playing career. The Gunners captain represented England and led Arsenal to Premier League titles and FA Cup victories.

Steven Gerrard epitomises Liverpool, and the Reds captain has acted as a talisman for much of the last 10 years, leading the Merseyside club to a famous Champions League in 2005.

Although he came close to leaving his beloved Reds, the England captain stayed put and is one of greatest ever players to pull on the Liverpool shirt.

Further afield, Paulo Maldini at AC Milan and Carlos Puyol at Barcelona have devoted their entire careers to their clubs.

It remains to be seen whether Leo Messi follows Puyol's lead and finishes his career at Barcelona.

But at just 25 years old, there's plenty of time yet.

Who is your favourite one-club player? Join the debate by leaving your choice in the comment box below...

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Ryan Giggs
European News
John Terry
Paul Scholes
Steven Gerrard
Tony Adams

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