new contract and end his career at the club.
Messi, whose current Barca deal expires in the summer of 2018, has yet to
agree new terms, sparking speculation he could leave the Catalan side.
A club source told ESPN FC on Tuesday that Barcelona are confident the
Argentina international will extend his contract, and Bartomeu said the same on
“I believe we’ve got a team with incredible players, all of them,” Bartomeu said
at the announcement of a lucrative four-year sponsorship deal with Japanese
technology company Rakuten. “There is nonetheless a leader of course, Leo
Messi, he is well known and popular all over the world.
“We’re all convinced, we’re all positive Leo Messi will end his sporting career in
Barca. All the members of Barca believe this is how it has to be, because he is
the player that in the last few years has brought us sporting success.”
The new sponsorship agreement will see Rakuten replace Qatar Airways on the
front of Barca’s shirts from the start of next season and will earn the club €55
million a year.
Bartomeu revealed Barca defender Gerard Pique and his popstar wife Shakira
helped the club negotiate the deal with Rakuten chief executive Hiroshi Mikitani.
“Gerard Pique and his wife Shakira are very close friends with Mr Mikitani,”
Bartomeu said. “It was in the summer of 2015, Gerard organised a dinner in San
Francisco during our summer tour.
“At that dinner we met Mr Mikitani, who was, for us, an incredible person. We
talked about the future, about his interest in FC Barcelona and we started at
that moment conversations and Gerard Pique helped us a lot to meet Mr
Mikitani, so we are very grateful to him.”
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