BARCELONA

Barcelona: Messi can play until he's 45, says club chief Bartomeu

Aged 31, Barcelona's Lionel Messi "has so much football still to give", according to Josep María Bartomeu.

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Barcelona: Messi can play until he's 45, says club chief Bartomeu

Barcelona president Josep María Bartomeu believes superstar captain Lionel Messi can play until he is 45 years old.

Messi scored his 600th goal for Barça on Wednesday as the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's brace helped the club to a 3-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Liverpool.

The 31-year-old re-signed with Barça in 2017 – an extension that runs through to 2021 – and Bartomeu thinks retirement is still a long way off for Messi.

Messi will "outlast me", says Barcelona president

"The day that Messi retires - well, I won't be president because he'll outlast me," Bartomeu told the Daily Mail. "He has so much football still to give.

"I still think it's a long way off. Look at the power in that free-kick [he scored against Liverpool]. He's a long way out and that ball really flies. He's stronger than ever."

Bartomeu added: "I hope Leo plays on until he's 45!

"I don't know what he wants to do but it would be fantastic to have him in the team when we inaugurate the new stadium."

"Presidents from other teams, when they come to the Camp Nou the first thing they say is: 'Is Messi going to play today?' They support their teams but they love football and want to see him," he continued.

48 goals so far this term for magical Messi

Messi has enjoyed another incredible campaign for Barcelona, scoring 48 goals in all competitions this season - including a LaLiga-best 34.