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Lionel Messi is likely to stay at Barcelona beyond the summer of 2021, claims Carles Rexach, with the Argentine being backed to remain at Camp Nou before following the lead of former team-mate Xavi and heading for Qatar.
Having grown disillusioned with life at inconsistent Barca, Messi stated a desire to take on a new challenge.
That path was blocked, as the Blaugrana battled to keep a talismanic presence on their books, and a contract through to the end of the current campaign will be honoured.
It remains to be seen what will happen at that point, with Messi currently in a position where he will be able to speak with suitors from January.
The 33-year-old has not been giving out the most encouraging of signs for Barca, with the South American telling reporters that he is “tired of always being blamed for everything” when returning from international duty to be faced with a barrage of questions regarding his working relationship with Antoine Griezmann.
Rexach admits that Messi has been making some questionable decisions off the field, with his push for a move elsewhere stunning the football world, but he believes an all-time great will eventually commit to fresh terms.
The former Barca coach told Radio Marca: “Thanks to God, he's been the solution to Barcelona's problems.
“For me, he didn't do the right thing with the burofax, I have to say, although I'm pro-Messi all the way. That hasn't benefitted anyone.
“I think he'll stay at Barcelona if he doesn't decide to play at another level, like leaving for Qatar, for example.”
Messi is yet to be linked with any sides in the Middle East, with the likes of Manchester City and Inter considered to be leading any chase for his signature.