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Messi ‘agrees to remain at Barcelona beyond this season’

Lionel Messi has committed his future to Barcelona and has agreed to stay beyond this season, according to reports in Spain.

The Argentine star’s current contract at the Nou Camp is set to expire at the end of June and his future has been up in the air ever since he told the club by fax of his desire to leave last summer.

But now the uncertainty appears to have disappeared with Messi letting Barcelona know that he will remain at the club, according to Spanish broadcaster TVE.

The report claims that Messi, who has been linked with moves to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, has also expressed to club president Joan Laporta that he needs to make the team around him stronger in return.

It has been a topsy-turvy season for Messi and Barcelona following the appointment of Ronald Koeman as manager last summer.

Koeman was thrown into the deep end with his star man agitating for a move away but the 33-year-old ended up staying because the club blocked his transfer by insisting on demanding his astronomical release clause of £625million was met.

In December the Catalan giants were 12 points behind LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid and were mired in institutional chaos but fast forward to now and Barcelona are just two points off Atletico and have a game in hand.

Laporta, one of Messi’s allies, was also appointed club president in March and Koeman won his first trophy at the helm as Barcelona lifted the Copa del Rey earlier this month.

Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League after being comfortably swept aside by PSG. That European exit came after their humiliation by Bayern Munich at the quarter-final stage last season.

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Messi wants assurances that Barcelona will bring in reinforcements this summer but the club is cash-strapped as a result of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

While Barcelona great Xavi has insisted that Messi ‘has not been happy on the field’ over the past few seasons as he lamented his former club’s failure to make the most of having the ‘best footballer in the world and in history’.

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