Barcelona's sporting director Eric Abidal has confirmed the club are working towards extending Lionel Messi's deal at Camp Nou - which could see the Argentine remain at the club for the rest of his career.
At present, Messi would be allowed walk away from La Blaugrana for free when his current deal expires in the summer of 2021, having risen through the club's famed La Masia youth academy since leaving Newell's Old Boys.
Currently embarking on his 16th season in Catalonia, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is in discussions to ensure that number continues to rise, with talks of a 'lifetime contract' having been mentioned to ensure he sees out his playing career at Barça
"He [Messi] is a key player for us a
"I hope he stays for many years, and I think that will be the case. It will be Leo's decision. And as he says, Barcelona first and foremost. He is the best."
Messi suffered with an injury-hit start to the season, yet has still managed to notch eight goals and four assists in seven La Liga outings. His influence is undeniable, with
"We are Barça and here you have to win everything," he added.
"We are clear on what the demands are because it's the same year after year.