Barcelona President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, reassured supporters on Saturday that the club would renew Lionel Messi’s contract.
“There should be no nerves. I want to calm everyone. There are conversations on a personal level and it’s a matter of time. When there is something new we will explain it,” Bartomeu told Catalan television.
Bartomeu said: “Leo wants to be here. We want him to renew and it is very important for the club and for Barca. When two sides understand each other then there has to be a happy ending and I hope he retires in the club.
“I cannot explain the details but we are talking to his people. He is the best player in the world and we want him to stay and he wants to stay. He is happy here. But we have to do everything calmly. The renovation is vital for the club.”
Messi’s current contract runs out in 2018 and he would be free to negotiate with another club in 12 months’ time if Barcelona does not extend his deal.
Asked for a timetable on negotiations, Bartomeu said: “The sooner the better. To reassure people I can say that we are talking to Messi on a personal level. He is a spectacular footballer. He is the leader and the best in the world”.
Bartomeu also revealed talks were ongoing over the extensions of the contracts of both keeper Marc Andre ter Stegen and midfielder Ivan Rakitic but said there were still no talks with coach Luis Enrique whose deal ends at the end of this season.
He said: “We will not talk with him until April. Next year is being planned by (sporting director) Robert Fernandez and Luis Enrique is focusing on training sessions and matches. Like all supporters we want him to stay.”