Speculation about Messi’s future continues to swirl, with the mercurial No. 10’s contract expires at the end of June following his public falling-out with the club’s hierarchy in the summer of 2020.

Messi should stay at Barcelona, Di Santo says

Lionel Messi should follow his heart and stay with Barcelona this summer in an attempt to restore the Blaugrana to their former glories, said former Argentina team-mate Franco Di Santo. Speculation about Messi’s future continues to swirl, with the mercurial No. 10’s contract expires at the end of June following his public falling-out with the club’s hierarchy in the summer of 2020. That means that Saturday’s meeting with Real Madrid at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano will be his last in the history of Clásico if he decides to leave Camp Nou behind. The 33-year-old player completely ignores the situation around his future until the end of the season. As Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, and Inter continue to be linked with his signature.

Most of Barca’s recent history has been about Leo

Former Chelsea striker Di Santo believes that while it would be interesting to see the six-time Ballon d’Or winner in a new setting, he would rather stay in Catalonia. Di Santo said: “He deserves respect at Barcelona for everything he has won with the club. It’s a team game, but most of their recent history has been about him. I don’t think they would have won as much without him. He is the key to everything at Barcelona. And the style of play. He deserves to be respected for what he has won in recent years. It would be great for whoever signs him in the Premier League or Italy. Seeing him in a different context would be cool. However, I would like him to stay in Barcelona to build his legacy.

“If I were him, I would ignore everything people say and do what my heart says. I would do what is best for my family and me. Maybe that’s to make Barcelona strong again”. Although a lousy start to the season and the emergence of new stars such as Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, Messi’s recent form suggests that he is not ready to give up his crown as the best player in the world without a fight. With 16 goals and seven assists in 13 league appearances since the beginning of the year, Messi has put Barca back into the Spanish title race. Ronald Koeman’s side now just one point behind faltering leaders Atletico Madrid with nine games yet to be played. The Blaugrana have also reached the Copa del Rey final scheduled for April 17 against Athletic Bilbao.