The first touch will take place next week about the extension of Lionel Messi ‘s contract. According to COPE — and confirmed by SPORT — Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu expects to launch negotiations about an extension in the coming days, with the new terms expiring in 2021.

Messi turns 33 on June 24 but is still full of inspiration and enthusiasm to lead Barça to more titles and earn himself more individual honors. Last year he won his sixth Ballon d’Or, a rare achievement in football. But the passage of years means his future must be dealt with in the short term, not in the long term.

With Messi going into the final 12 months of his contract — and not having taken up an opportunity to leave this summer for free — Barça needs to get to work. In the current situation, since he will be in the final six months of his contract, Messi would be free to speak with any club from January.

On the pitch, Messi is in perfect shape to take on Mallorca next weekend when LaLiga returns due to the coronavirus pandemic after a three-month break. His absence from Wednesday’s training has generated media alarm, but he has no problems and will start when the action is back.

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