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Lionel Messi will stay at Barcelona 'for life,' says director Robert Fernandez

Replacing Lionel Messi is one of the daunting tasks that Barcelona must consider in the coming years.
Lionel Messi has many years left in a Barcelona shirt, says the club's technical director Robert Fernandez.

Lionel Messi will remain at Barcelona "for life," according to the club's technical director Robert Fernandez.

The 28-year-old forward underlined his status as one of the best players in team history last season when he scored a total of 60 goals and set up 28 more in 60 appearances, helping the Blaugrana capture a Primera Division, Champions League and Copa del Rey treble.

Messi is already in the Barca books as the all-time record goal scorer.

Asked if he will have to think of a Barca without Messi in the future, Fernandez told Mundo Deportivo: "No, he will play here for life.

"Unfortunately, he cannot play forever but we still have a lot of Messi left. He has many years remaining in football.

"Many people think that it is a few but he is an intelligent player and will know how to select a place on the pitch and will always be decisive.

"Logically, people get old and you lose things but he is so intelligent that his performances will always be extraordinary. He has that gift."

Messi joined Barca at the age of 13 and made his first team debut four years later in 2004. The Rosario-born star has come along way since, winning four Ballon d'Ors.

Fernandez, who also confirmed that Barcelona have started talks to extend Neymar's contract, said there will never be another player like Messi.

"It's impossible," he said. "What he has achieved, no one else will ever be able to do. Look at the stats, his appearances, goals, titles... you realise it's impossible.

"I see him happy, involved."

Messi has scored 286 goals in 317 appearances for Barca.

He has won seven La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey trophies and four Champions League crowns with the Catalan giants.


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