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A Blaugrana team-mate of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner believes fresh terms could be agreed if the Catalan giants prove themselves deserving

Lionel Messi can be convinced to stay put by a winning Barcelona, Sergi Roberto believes, with there still time for the Camp Nou giants to tempt an iconic figure into penning fresh terms.

As things stand, six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi has less than 12 months left to run on his current contract.

The 33-year-old had intended to break free before entering that final year, with the Argentine superstar expressing a desire to leave on the back of a disappointing 2019-20.

His path was quickly blocked and Messi revealed in an exclusive interview with Goal that he would not be entering into a legal dispute with Barca.

The 2020-21 season has been opened in positive fashion by Barca, with a convincing 4-0 win recorded over Villarreal in their first competitive outing under Ronald Koeman.

Roberto hopes domestic and continental success can be built from this point, with there every reason to believe that major silverware will convince Messi to stay put.

“I hope as the days pass he’ll begin to feel better and we can count on Leo to win trophies,” Roberto told ARA of a fellow La Masia academy graduate.

“In the end, it’s like when you split from your wife or your best friend. They are complicated processes. Now it’s up to his team-mates to make him feel wanted.”

On the stunning saga that saw Messi push for the exits, Roberto added: “I didn’t know anything. And when it came out in the news I couldn’t believe that Leo didn’t want to stay here.

“I wish it wasn’t like that. With him, we’re stronger and I’m delighted that he’s staying in the end.”

While Messi remains in Catalunya for now, he will be free to speak with any interested parties from January.

Roberto is looking for Barca to state their case for an extension before then, with it still possible that the one-club man could agree to prolong his association with the Liga giants.

“He said he’s only staying for one more year but, if we play well and we win trophies, who knows if he’ll change his mind? If we achieve that, even better,” said Roberto.

“It’s a very complicated situation. The player looks out for his best interests and so do the club. It’s difficult to reach a balance where everyone is happy.

“In Leo’s case, it’s special. He’s been here for 20 years and given his all for this shirt.”

Barca do have plenty of bridges to build when it comes to Messi, with the South American having also hit out at the club for allowing his close friend and fellow prolific frontman Luis Suarez to leave for rivals Atletico Madrid.

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September 28, 2020
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