Lionel Messi has denied rumours he will be leaving Barcelona at the end of the current campaign, though the 32-year-old revealed he is yet to open negotiations over a new deal with the club.
Blaugrana president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently admitted the five-time Ballon d’Or could leave on a free transfer at the end of the 2019/20 campaign due to a clause in his contract that allows him to walk away at the end of each season.
The Argentine has spent his entire senior career in Catalonia, amassing 603 goals in 687 appearances and earning 23 major honours since his debut at age 16. There are rumours that he could return to Argentina to play before retiring, while David Beckham’s new MLS franchise Inter Miami have also been linked.
Though confidentiality agreements prevent Messi from discussing contract details, he was asked by SPORT to clarify Bartomeu’s comments, the forward then explaining that: “I want to be at Barcelona as long as possible.
“I’ve said throughout my career that this is my home. But, I also don’t want to have a long-term contract and only be here because of it. My idea is to continue here for as long as I can perform well and my body allows me to do that.
“I need to see there’s a winning team because I want to keep winning things at this club. For me, money or a clause don’t mean anything. Other things motivate me and the most important thing is having a winning team.”
However, when questioned whether talks had begun over a new deal, Messi stated: “My father handles that, but we aren’t talking with Barça. He would have told me if so.”
In a wide-ranging interview, La Blaugrana’s captain also admitted he’d been eager to reunite with former teammate Neymar, who was linked with a sensational switch back to the Nou Camp for much of the summer.