Barcelona football club is willing to offer Lionel Messi a ‘lifetime contract’ with a clause that he can leave the Catalan club for free at the end of the season.

A report in El Pais on Thursday highlighted the clause in the Argentine’s deal, which allows him to leave for free at the end of any given season, and that arrangement was later confirmed by team-mate Gerard Pique in an interview with Spanish radio.

“I already knew that Messi could go for free at end of each season,” Pique told El Larguero. “We know the commitment Leo has with Barca and it doesn’t worry me at all. He has earned the right to decide his future.”

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu then explained the agreement on Friday.

“He signed until 2021,” he told Barca TV. “And it was agreed that, when the penultimate season finished, he would have the power to leave for free. He has the liberty to decide his future. But he is very ‘culé’ and I’m relaxed

“Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta and [Carles] Puyol had the same clause. To Messi, the best player of all time and a ‘culé’ all his life, we couldn’t give him a different clause. But I repeat: I have no doubt he will stay here for many years.

And he added: “He will be here as long as he is able to perform for Barcelona. Let’s hope we have him until he is 40 years old.”

With that in mind, El Mundo Deportivo now say Barca want to give the Argentine attacker a lifetime contract, claiming the Catalan club see him playing until at least 2022.

The Barcelona-based sports paper says there is no hurry to start negotiations, with the two parties expected to sit down to discuss a new agreement in the coming months. It is expected that any new deal would still include the same walk-away agreement .

Messi, meanwhile, has yet to appear for Barca this season after picking up a calf injury on his return to pre-season training, but he is expected to be fit for this weekend’s game at home to Valencia.

Source: Evening Standard