Barcelona have tied down Lionel Messi for a further two years after the Argentine decided to extend his current deal until 2018 this week. It was celebrated news at the Nou Camp and followed similar extensions for club legends Carles Puyol and Xavi.
For Messi it was a happy day and was the culmination of a fantastic few months for the diminutive forward. After scoring a pretty measly sum of 91 goals in 2012 he was also awarded the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or for a record breaking fourth time.
On signing the deal he had this to say:
‘’I said it before - in Europe I'd like to end my career at Barca. I wouldn't consider moving to another European club. With that said, I'm not ruling out ending my playing career in Argentina."
So Messi has pretty much vowed that he will never play for another team in Europe but come 2018 could he really be on his way back home.
Quite unbelievably he would only be 30 when this current deal expires; which beggars belief considering his incredible appearance and goal tally in his career so far. Leaving would also bring to an end an astonishing 18 years’ service to the Catalan club.
But teams do not want to get caught out like San Lorenzo were when Fabricio Coloccini decided he wanted to head home. So while it is five years away there are definitely some teams in Argentina who should start thinking about outing aside some money every year to try and lure Messi to their club in 2018. At 30 he may have well achieved everything in European club football; in fact at the age of 25 he already has so a peaceful life back home may appeal to him.
Messi has previously stated that Barcelona are the team he supports so a return to his hometown with former club Newell’s Old Boys would seem a perfectly plausible option. There is also Rosario Central; another big name in Argentine football. While the likes of Boca Juniors and River Plate will undoubtedly be doing everything in their power to convince their countries hero to play for one of the iconic Buenos Aires clubs.
So it might be time to grab an old jar from somewhere, grab a marker pen and write ‘Messi Fund’ on the side of it. In five years’ time it might be all the difference.