Lionel Messi has sent a positive message to Barcelona fans after confirming he will be staying at the club for the 2020-21 season.
The Argentina international told Goal’s Ruben Aria that he will see out his contract at the Camp Nou despite informing the club he wanted to use a clause in his existing deal to leave for free just 10 days ago.
Aria also asked Messi for an optimistic message to send supporters, and the captain duly obliged by vowing to give his all for the club ahead of the new La Liga campaign.
“As usual, I am going to give my best, I’ll do my best to fight for all the objectives and hopefully I can dedicate myself to all the people who have had a bad time. I have talked about the bad times I’ve gone through this year but it is hypocritical to say that if you compare it with people who have had a really bad time with the coronavirus, with people who have lost relatives and who have lost many things.
“Hopefully, I can give my best and dedicate victories to all these people who accompany us and their families and be able to dedicate the best to those people who are having a bad time and that we can overcome this virus once and for all and return to normality.”
Messi’s decision to stay at Barcelona means he is now expected to begin pre-season training with Ronald Koeman’s side ahead of their first game of the new campaign against Villarreal on September 27.
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Messi to Feature in Friendly?
Barcelona will return to action in a pre-season friendly against Segunda Division B side Nastic at the Estadi Johan Cruyff on September 12. Messi is expected to feature in that game, according to Angel Perez at Mundo Deportivo.
Messi’s decision to stay at Barcelona will be welcomed by new coach Koeman. The Dutchman has already made it clear how highly he values the captain and how he wants him to be a key player in his team.
“Of course he’s the best in the world and the best players in the world you want in your team, you don’t want him playing against you. For me as a coach I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches. For now he still has a contract, he’s still a Barcelona player. I need to speak to him, he’s the captain. We need to work with him and speak to various players. In Messi’s case I hope he stays with us.”
Koeman can now count on a committed Messi for next season but will make changes elsewhere to his team. Arthur Melo and Ivan Rakitic have already left the club, while Luis Suarez could be next. According to BBC Sport‘s Guillem Balague, the striker has agreed personal terms with Juventus and is close to a move.