He appeared at one stage during the summer, as if the six-time Ballon d’Or winner would bringing his career-long association with Barcelona to a close.

Messi could extend his contract with Barca

Lionel Messi feels “motivated” at Barcelona and could continue to spend “many years” at Camp Nou, Carles Puyol says. He appeared at one stage during the summer. As if the six-time Ballon d’Or winner would bringing his career-long association with Barcelona to a close. Messi thought the exit clause in his clause would allow him to move on. But Barça made it clear that the deal had expired, leading the 33-year-old to celebrate the final year of his contract. The move in 2021 may still be on the cards, with Manchester City among those continuing to monitor the situation. But a new deal at Camp Nou cannot be ruled out. Puyol believes Messi can be persuaded to stay put, with the Argentine is fully committed to the Barça cause during the first weeks of this campaign.

Leo is a huge asset for LaLiga

“Like any fan, I didn’t want Messi to leave, but this is football,” former Blaugrana captain Puyol told reporters. “In the end, he decided to stay. He recently said that he is motivated, Messi wants to win and we hope he can continue with us for years to come. He is a huge asset for LaLiga and he is one of the best in the world”. Puyol says he can appreciate why Messi may have thought about leaving the Camp Nou. The legendary former defender missed many opportunities to leave Barcelona himself before ending his career as a one-club man. Serie A giants Milan came as close as anyone to close the deal, with the World Cup-winning centre-half acknowledging that the Italian adventure alongside with Paolo Maldini held plenty of appeal to him.

Puyol added: “In 2014, after my injury, I chose to retire, despite offers from English and Italian clubs. When your club is also your home, you don’t feel like wearing a different jersey. I would love to go to Milan to play with Maldini, my idol. The Rossoneri will be back, even if they are going through a difficult moment. I would be delighted to end my career in Italy”. Messi has also seen a move to Milan controversial, with Inter among his many suitors.