Gerard Pique has urged Lionel Messi to stay at the Nou Camp and insists Barcelona will do everything they can to ‘seduce’ him into signing a new deal.
Messi, 33, is out of contract in June and can discuss terms on a pre-contract agreement with other clubs from January.
The Argentine attacker infamously submitted a transfer request in August after Barca’s humiliating 8-2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, with the superstar heavily linked with a move to Manchester City. But the proposed deal fell through after Barca refused to allow Messi to leave on a free transfer.
‘You will have to ask Leo, I don’t know,’ Pique replied at a question and answer session for the CRIS Cancer Foundation when asked if Messi would remain at the Catalan club beyond the summer.
‘We hope he stays. It’s a personal decision. We will see. But for as long as he’s wearing the Barca shirt, there is always hope. We hope to seduce him to stay for many more years.’
The club have yet to commence talks with Messi over a new deal, due to the the fact that they don’t currently have a president after Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned in October.
A new president will be elected at the end of January, with Victor Font and Joan Laporta are amongst the early favourites, only then will the club be in a position to try and convince their all time leading scorer to sign a new contract.
Messi who was rested for Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday, should start when they host Osasuna on Sunday.
‘Messi had a good break this week, as did Frenkie de Jong,’ Barca coach Ronald Koeman said in a news conference on Saturday.
‘Both had played nearly every minute for us this season, in addition to many games with their national teams.
‘They can’t keep going and going and going. To avoid problems, we left them at home in midweek. But we will need them (against Osasuna).’