A round-up of all the important stories related to La Liga champions FC Barcelona as the Blaugrana get ready for the Champions League clash against Manchester City on Tuesday.
Barcelona look to get closer to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as they visit the Etihad Stadium, but before that let’s take a look at some of the latest news pertaining to the club.
Lionel Messi’s contract situation
Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu opened up about the recent reports stating uncertainties surrounding talisman Lionel Messi’s future at the club, insisting the club will open contract talks with the Argentine forward soon.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Bartomeu said: “We will have the negotiation with Messi in the next couple of months. Right now Leo Messi has a contract to the end of the Russian World Cup [in 2018] and we are very happy with him.”
Messi’s current deal with the club runs till the end of the 2017/18 season and despite widespread reports linking Messi with English giants Manchester City, Bartomeu is certain that his star man will extend his stay beyond the duration of his contract.
A Camp Nou return for Pep Guardiola?
Meanwhile, Bartomeu refused to rule out a return of the ever popular former manager Pep Guardiola, leaving the door open for a possible second stint. He added: “Is that a real possibility? You never know. There are so many people who were at the club, went, came back again.”
He also went on to provide his support to the City boss, claiming that his spell as the Citizens coach will be a successful one. “Pep is creating a new project at City and I can tell you – it will be successful. He’s an incredible coach.”
Pep Guardiola is revered for creating one of the most successful club sides of all time during his spell as the Barca boss, most famously guiding them to become the first Spanish club to win the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League.
Messi: City will grow more under Guardiola
Lionel Messi has backed former Barcelona manager and mentor Pep Guardiola to achieve unprecedented success at Manchester City, adding that the “great club” will grow more under his tutelage.
As reported by The Sun, Messi said: “City are a great team. They have always been a great team each year we have faced them but now, by having Pep, they will grow more through his work.”
Guardiola’s team broke a sequence of six games without a win as they beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 last week, and now prepare to host Messi and co. at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.
A record breaking kit deal
The Blaugrana have continued their partnership with American apparel giants Nike by signing a new kit deal that kicks off from 2018. Worth at least a reported €155m (£140m) a season, the new five-year deal, that runs through 2023, will break the record set by Manchester United’s current deal with Adidas that will see them earn £750m (€835m) over a 10-year period.
As per Fox Sports, the vice-president Manuel Arroyo broke the news during the club’s annual general meeting: “It is a figure which puts us No. 1 in the world for sponsorship in the sports industry.”