​Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is believed to be happy to reject the chance to activate an exit clause in his contract next summer, instead preferring to stay and negotiate a new deal.

The exit clause allows Messi to walk away from Camp Nou in the summer if he wishes to do so, regardless of whether Barcelona want him to or not. It had been rumoured that he might activate that clause for ​'non-elite clubs' in order to seal a return to Argentina with Newell's Old Boys to play out the twiglight of his career.

Several of Barça's top stars of recent years have been afforded similar escape routes as a thanks for their service. Xavi left for Al-Sadd in 2015, while Andres Iniesta joined Vissel Kobe in 2018.

Lionel Messi

However, according to ​Marca, that will not happen next summer as ​Messi is not even thinking about an exit. Instead, he wants to negotiate a new contract, but he wants to wait until next season to do so.

That will certainly work for ​Barcelona, who are eager to offer Messi - who is playing as well as ever - a lifetime contract to keep him tied to the club even in retirement.

"Surely it will be the wish of all parties, if he [Messi] feels strong and ambitious, to extend this contract indefinitely," Josep Maria Bartomeu said (via ​Sky Spo​rts News).

"Ultimately it is he who must decide. He has earned the right to decide when he will stop playing football. But like he said a few weeks ago, he wants to finish his playing career at Barcelona.

Josep Maria Bartomeu

"Over the next two or three seasons our leader will continue to be Leo Messi. There's no doubt that he is still young, still strong. He is still ambitious. So Leo Messi will still play with us for the next two, three, four or five years. I have no doubts about that."

Messi is understood to be happy with life in Spain, where he first moved as a 13-year-old. His family are settled in Barcelona, while he is still thoroughly enjoying being part of La Blaugrana, so there is nothing which has made him even consider leaving next summer.

With nine goals and five assists from his first 11 games this season, Messi's brilliance remains essential to Barcelona, while the superstar recently equalled a Cristiano Ronaldo record for the ​most ever hat-tricks in La Liga (34) with a triple against Celta Vigo. 

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