Barcelona fans must prepare themselves for the retirement of Lionel Messi in the coming seasons, according to manager Ernesto Valverde.
The Catalan’s boss told his weekly press conference that conversations about life after the Argentinian superstar are already taking place, even if it difficult for fans to hear.
Messi himself sparked speculation over his future after collecting his sixth Ballon d’Or award in midweek, stating that fans should ‘enjoy these moments, because my retirement is getting nearer.’
Those comments were echoed by his manager, who added that whilst is has been a privilege to work with Messi, time moves on.
“It is natural and normal (to talk about retirement),” he told reporters from Diario AS.
“Leo is 32, and although I do not think he is thinking about retirement right now, it is in the air.”
“We should not go crazy thinking about this, but we must consider it.”
“Everyone thinks about retirement when they reach a certain age, and just because he is thinking about it doesn’t mean he is going to retire in the three days.”
“I am aware of how lucky I am to have coached Leo, but sometimes when you are working hard every day you are not allowed to enjoy these things.”
“These things are appreciated with time.”
Messi will lead Barcelona out for the La Liga clash with Real Mallorca this weekend, as Valverde’s side look to keep up the title pressure on Real Madrid.