LONDON: Lionel Messi is close to signing a new deal with Barcelona according to Barca legend Rivaldo.
The Argentine star’s future at the Nou Camp has been in doubt since he asked to move last summer.
Messi almost left Barcelona last season before agreeing to look back at his contract.
Yet he became a free agent at the end of the campaign after feeling he was ‘free to leave’ the club last year.
Messi said he did not want to fight legally with the club when his potential move to Manchester City was finally destroyed.
However he is still linked with a move away from Barca at the end of the season with Paris Saint -Germain, City and several MLS clubs – including Inter Miami – said to be interested.
But Brazilian icon Rivaldo, 48 – who played for Barca between 1997 and 2002 – said the 33 -year -old would remain after talks with new president Joan Laporta.
The new head of the Catalan club held a ceremony at the Nou Camp attended by Messi and his teammates.
Laporta, 58, was elected Barca’s new president for the second time, using his speech to convince Messi to sign a new deal.