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Barcelona legend Rivaldo is growing increasingly confident that Lionel Messi will sign a new contract, with the Blaugrana board being urged to bring in David Alaba alongside a talismanic club captain.
Speculation regarding the next move for a six-time Ballon d’Or winner continues to rage, with the most lucrative of deals running down towards free agency at Camp Nou.
Messi, having pushed for the exits in 2020, has been heavily linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, but Rivaldo believes the Argentine is erring towards penning an extension in Catalunya now that Joan Laporta has been returned to a presidential post.
“Barcelona are massively improving in the last few weeks, capitalising on Lionel Messi’s superb form and the election of a new president. Messi looks much more connected and happier since Juan Laporta’s arrival – a president he knows well,” former Barca star Rivaldo has told Betfair.
“For that reason, I’m starting to believe more and more that Messi might reach an agreement with the new board and sign a new contract to stay at the club for a few more years.
“Messi had a confidence boost with the new president election – someone he has a good connection with – raising the chances of him considering to stay for a bit longer.”
Messi has made it clear that he will not be making a decision on his future until the end of the season.
Discussions can be held before then, with Barca eager to thrash out fresh terms, but no definitive call from Camp Nou is imminent.
That is allowing attention to be diverted elsewhere, with the Blaugrana said to be exploring a number of recruitment options.
Eric Garcia is heading back to his roots from Manchester City, adding another promising defender to the pot, while Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is being lined up as a possible free agent.
Bayern Munich star Alaba is another big name running down his current deal, with Barca said to be one of the Austrian’s many suitors.
Rivaldo has added: “It was looking clear that Alaba would sign for Real Madrid at the end of the season, but it seems now that Barcelona are also trying to bring the player in and I’m sure he would be a nice upgrade to Barcelona’s defence.
“He is a great player, current European champion and with many years ahead of him, so it would be a great signing. Of course, many would see it as a victory against Real Madrid, but I don’t see things like that.
“Barcelona need to focus on themselves and don’t think about rivals because that’s the only way they can get back to being the strong European team they were some years ago.”