​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.

Abidal revealed that the club are working hard to see that thought become a reality, insisting the club are looking to bring an end to the issue 'once and for all'.

"He [Messi] is a key player for us and has the option of leaving at the end of his current deal," Abidal told ​Sport. "But I know the president is talking to his representatives to ensure the contract is closed once and for all.

"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 Barça still in the running for all their domestic trophies as well as sitting top of their group in the Champions League.

Eric Abidal

Former player Abidal insisted challenging on all fronts is the least Ernesto Valverde's side must be doing, and that those targets remain the same year in, year out.

"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. If the team has the mentality to achieve that objective, they will achieve it. And I am one of those that are convinced that they have it. Two hundred percent."