Gaizka Mendieta thinks the next few weeks are key for Barcelona to ensure that their greatest player, Lionel Messi, doesn’t move on when his contract expires.
Messi is said to be shutting out talk of his future and will make a decision at the end of the season, but Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are keen to make offers to the superstar should he look to leave in the summer.
It follows an unprecedented interview that Messi gave last summer to outline his unhappiness at Camp Nou. However, Mendieta believes that Messi will remain with the Blaugrana as long as they prove they can compete for trophies.
“Having been a player myself, I can tell you what we want. We want to be competitive and win trophies. I think that’s what Messi wants,” Mendieta told Goal
“Of course, the contract side and family circumstances are important. But just on the player, I think he wants to win trophies. If he sees Barca can win and compete for trophies, then he will certainly stay at Barcelona. If he doesn’t see that happening, he will look somewhere else.
“I am hoping, like a lot of Barca and football fans in Spain, Messi will stay in Barca. I am sure other people would like to see him tested somewhere else in another league or club.
“But I am a romantic, especially in this day and age with players changing club so often, that he would have his whole career at that level in the same club. I think it would be amazing for him and Barca.
“He is not in decline, he might have had some dips, but decline is a big word for someone who has been at an amazing level for 15 years. We all agree that he is one of the greatest in football history, whether you support Barca or not.
“He achieved that by delivering in every game and training session. He has certainly had to change his style due to his age and new managers. He is not the Messi we saw a few years ago, but for me he is still the best.
“If you look at matches around the world, how many players can affect a game like him? There’s not many.”