Lionel Messi has been linked with a shock Barcelona exit – but club president Josep Bartomeu is confident the superstar will end his career at the Nou Camp.
Inter Milan are reportedly hopeful of persuading Messi to leave Barca next summer by offering the Argentine forward a deal worth a staggering €260million (£235m) over four years.
Messi, 33, is out of contract next year and appears to be discontented with life at the Catalan club following a disappointing season and a series of behind-the-scenes rows.
But Bartomeu says he is in no doubt that the player he describes as the best “in the history of the game” will see out his career with the club he has represented since the age of 13.
“It’s not just me who says it, Messi says it himself,” Bartomeu said on beInSPORTS. “He wants to finish his professional playing career at Barcelona and it’s the only club for him.
“I don’t have any doubt that when he finishes his football career in three or four years it will be here at Barcelona.
“Messi has it very clear. He’s been here since he was a kid, he knows the colours and is a part of the club’s history.
“He is the best player in the world. Not just right now, but in the history of the game.
“He’s at Barcelona and has made clear he wants to stay here.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported last week that Inter were willing to offer Messi an “astronomical” €260m deal.
The deal would push Messi’s net earnings beyond that of rival Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Inter have already seemingly started their charm offensive, after Messi’s image was projected onto Milan’s Duomo cathedral.
The club’s CEO Giuseppe Marotta described the idea of prising Messi away from Barcelona as “fantasy football, a utopian situation.”