Sign Neymar or lose Messi – Barcelona warned

La Liga expert, Graham Hunter says Barcelona may have some trouble in Lionel Messi contract renewal if they fail to secure Neymar return from Paris St Germain.

Messi’s contract expires in 2021 after he signed a renewal in 2017 that saw him emerge one of the highest paid footballers in the world.

He’s spent all his career with Barcelona and has helped the club win ten titles and four Champions League trophies.

According to Barcelona chief Joseph Maria Bartomeu, the club has plans to keep their talisman for life.

“We want him to have a really long career so we can keep on enjoying him.

“Lionel’s managed to break down borders. Everyone admires him and he’s applauded at other stadiums by rival fans.

“We would like to renew his contract, that’s the idea. He is young – you can see that [in his performances] – and he still has two years on his deal.

“He’s always improving, always innovating. I believe he still has many years in front of him and in the coming months we will sit down with him so that he has many more years at Barcelona.

“Messi is a one-club man. It’s more than what he does on the pitch — his relationship with Barca will last forever. I use the example of Pele, who was always at Santos. We want Messi to always be at Barca, whether that’s playing or linked to the club [when he’s retired].”

However, La Liga expert Graham Hunter believes not signing Neymar may hinder their desire to keep Messi for as long as they wish.

 “The financial gymnastics in which Barcelona are indulging to sign both Neymar and Griezmann are, to any Barca purist from the Johan Cruyff/Guardiola/Txiki Begiristain school of thought, an aberration.

“It’s the mentality of Real Madrid-esque Galactico purchasing – nearly €300m lavished on Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, but hey ‘cash them in and re-splurge!’

“The team seems jaded, or wilts in the red-hot heat of Anfield. Just like in Paris, Turin or Rome in recent years.

“Adding Griezmann and Neymar is another nod of disrespect, indeed disdain, not only towards the youth academy (La Masia) work and ideals, but more specifically to Carles Alena and Ricki Puig whose form and maturity are beginning to demand significantly more game time in the first XI.

“Let’s not ignore the dilemma of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, either, after he explicitly stated that one of his legacies, before his mandate ends in 2021, should be renewing Messi’s contract once again.

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