Former Barcelona legend Carles Puyol has backed skipper Lionel Messi play on until 38, and to end his career at the club.
The Argentina international has been tentatively linked with a summer move to Manchester City, following a public fall out with sporting director Eric Abidal in recent weeks.
However the 32-year old knows looks to have cleared the air at the Camp Nou, and Puyol is confident he will stay in Catalonia.
“Why are we talking about Barcelona without him?” he told reporters from Mundo Deportivo ahead of the Laureus Awards in Berlin.
“He is still at the club, and we should be aiming to win as much as possible with him.”
“He is a player that is 32 now, he takes care of himself, and could play on until he is 38.”
“We knew from the beginning that he is a special player, but he continues to break records.”
Messi is under contract with Barcelona until the end of the 2020-21 season, however he does have a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave for free at the end of the current campaign.
However, despite the links with a reunion with Pep Guardiola, Messi has consistently maintained his desire to remain with Barcelona.
Manager Quique Setien has recently echoed Puyol’s claims that Messi can continue at his current level for years to come, adding that he is confident he will sign an extension and see out his career with La Blaugrana.