Messi will be impossible to replace, says Barcelona president Bartomeu

By Sports Desk December 09, 2019

Barcelona will find it impossible to replace Lionel Messi, according to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who added Pep Guardiola would always be welcome back at Camp Nou.

Messi followed up winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or by recording his 35th LaLiga hat-trick in Barca's 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.

Despite spending big on Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong in the most recent transfer window, Barca are still heavily reliant on the 32-year-old, who has scored 14 goals from 15 appearances in all competitions this term.

Bartomeu has acknowledged Barca will find it extremely difficult to replace Messi whenever the forward calls time on his stay at the club, but outlined their intention to continue developing young talent from the famed La Masia academy. 

"We Barca fans have the good fortune to enjoy Messi every three days," Bartomeu, who plans to offer Messi a "lifetime contract" told Italian publication La Repubblica.

"Leo is impossible to replace and when he will be here no more, we will be forced to play differently. I cannot say that we are already preparing for post-Messi, but it is true that we have already decided to bet on young players for a long time.

"For now, what we have to do is not worry, but enjoy it. I would like to make him an annuity contract as we have already done with [Andres] Iniesta. He has earned the right to decide when to say enough is enough.

"As a footballer, Messi is number one and we will fully understand it only in a few years, because Leo has changed not only the history of Barca, but that of world football."

Bartomeu also confirmed Guardiola - who left Barca in 2012 after four trophy-laden seasons in charge before going on to coach Bayern Munich and now Manchester City, will always have a home at Barca, should he wish to return. 

"A possible return of Guardiola? It doesn't depend on me," he added. 

"It was Pep who decided to leave, but for him the doors of Barca are always open." 

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Tottenham to spend big on Willian Jose? Rumour Has It: Tottenham to spend big on Willian Jose?

    Have Tottenham finally found an alternative to Harry Kane?

    According to reports, Spurs are in talks to sign Real Sociedad's Willian Jose with just over a week to go until the transfer window closes.

    But it could take in excess of £50million to finally end their search for a second out-and-out striker.

     

    TOP STORY – SPURS TO DIG DEEP FOR SOCIEDAD STRIKER

    Krzysztof Piatek, Islam Slimani and Fernando Llorente have all been linked but Tottenham have now set their sights on 28-year-old Willian Jose, reports the Guardian.

    The Brazilian was left out of his side's Copa del Rey clash with Espanyol on Wednesday and could now be headed for north London.

    Talks are underway, the Guardian states, although Spurs could be forced to contemplate meeting Willian Jose's €70million (£59m) release clause as Sociedad seek adequate compensation.

    The one-time Real Madrid man has scored eight LaLiga goals this term after reaching double figures in each of the previous three seasons.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Dani Ceballos has asked Real Madrid to terminate his Arsenal loan and find him a move elsewhere, according to Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

    - The Gunners are set to suffer another blow as Ligue 1 outfit Lyon prepare to confirm the €25million signing of rumoured Atletico Madrid target Bruno Guimaraes, reports L'Equipe.

    - Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will allow Philippe Coutinho to return to Barcelona at the end of his loan spell if, as desired, the Bundesliga giants land Leroy Sane and Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, reports Bild.

    - After sealing a deal for Reinier Jesus, Madrid could return to raid Flamengo for 19-year-old forward Lincoln, says Mundo Deportivo.

    - Leicester City plan to bolster their Champions League ambitions by splashing £15million on Southampton centre-back Jannik Vestergaard, according to The Sun.

    - Serie A side Milan have submitted an 18-month loan offer for Manchester City-linked Florentino Luis, claims CalcioMercato. The 20-year-old defensive midfielder plays for Benfica.

  • Real Madrid have to be alert to Mbappe signs amid links - Nacho Real Madrid have to be alert to Mbappe signs amid links - Nacho

    Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez said the LaLiga giants must take notice of Kylian Mbappe's hints amid links to the Santiago Bernabeu. 

    Speculation over Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe continues to make headlines as Zinedine Zidane's Madrid reportedly eye the France international.

    Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for Mbappe, who dismissed talk over PSG contract negotiations earlier this month, while the 21-year-old revealed the Madrid boss was his idol growing up.

    Nacho was asked about Mbappe following Madrid's 3-1 Copa del Rey win over Unionistas de Salamanca on Wednesday.

    "If he's sending us signs, we have to be alert to receiving them," Nacho told reporters.

    After scoring 33 Ligue 1 goals last season, Mbappe has 13 for defending champions PSG this term.

    Mbappe has 21 goals across all competitions for Thomas Tuchel's PSG, who are preparing for the Champions League last 16 against Borussia Dortmund.

  • Zidane confirms Bale ankle scare on Real Madrid return Zidane confirms Bale ankle scare on Real Madrid return

    Gareth Bale will be monitored after suffering a minor ankle twist on his impressive return to Real Madrid's starting side, head coach Zidane Zidane confirmed on Wednesday.

    Bale scored the opener in a 3-1 Copa del Rey win over Unionistas de Salamanca but was unable to continue beyond the 53rd minute midweek.

    Wales star Bale, who has battled injury and illness this season, was making his first appearance since the LaLiga victory against Getafe on January 4.

    "He's twisted his ankle a bit," Zidane said. "I don't think it's much but, as always, we'll see tomorrow. He couldn't go on."

    Bale's forced withdrawal appeared to unsettle Madrid, who conceded a stunning equaliser four minutes later as Alvaro Romero surged forward and fired past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

    Juan Gongora's own goal after the hour and a late Brahim Diaz strike saved Zidane's men from an upset and extended their winning streak to five games in all competitions.

    The Los Blancos boss insisted he was satisfied despite flirting with a premature exit against the third-tier minnows.

    "It was a tough night at a tough place to come and play," he said.

    "We struggled with moving the ball and we didn't see much great football, but that was down to the pitch, not more than that.

    "We're pleased because in the end we're going through to the last-16 and that's what we came to achieve."

    Madrid - level on points with leaders and defending champions Barcelona - visit Real Valladolid in LaLiga on Sunday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.