Barcelona's Lionel Messi avoids talk of new contract at Golden Shoe awards

Posted Saturday, November 25, 2017 by ESPN

Barcelona's Lionel Messi avoids talk of new contract at Golden Shoe awards

Lionel Messi avoided the chance to clear up the doubts about his Barcelona contract situation as he accepted the European Golden Shoe award on Friday.

Barcelona announced that Messi had agreed to a new deal until 2021 in July but the forward has not yet signed the contract himself.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed in September that the deal -- which consists of three contracts, one with the player's foundation, another regarding image rights and then the employment contract -- has been signed by Messi's father.

However, with Messi not officially committing to the terms, confusion has grown in recent months amid the fear he could begin to negotiate with other clubs in January ahead of the expiry of his current terms next June.

Messi could have put all those concerns to bed on Friday when he was presented with his fourth Golden Shoe award at the Antiga Fabrica Estrella Damm in Barcelona, but he avoided questions about his contract.

Marca director Juan Ignacio Gallardo, who introduced the ceremony, confirmed that "it is not the day to talk about [Messi's] contract situation."

Hundreds of media had gathered by the red carpet before the gala with the hope of asking Messi about his future, but the Argentine international entered through a side door as teammates Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta posed for photographs.

As sponsors of the award, Marca did have an interview with Messi -- which will be published on Friday -- but sources told ESPN FC that his future was not discussed. Messi was presented with the Golden Shoe by Suarez, last year's winner, as he spoke about his changing role on the pitch now he's into his 30s and this weekend's top-of-the-table clash against Valencia.

"I always say individual prizes come from collective efforts," said Messi, whose 37 La Liga goals last season earned him the prize for the fourth time ahead of Sporting Lisbon's Bas Dost [34] and Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang [31].

"It's a prize for everyone. Without [my teammates], I wouldn't be able to win this, it's down to the group."

Messi has scored 12 league goals so far this season from a deeper role but says he's never considered himself an out-and-out forward anyway.

"I have always said I don't consider myself a striker but I have had the luck to score the goals which give me these awards," he said.

"I notice my evolution. I have grown, both on and off the pitch, adding things to my game. I enjoy being a player more and more all the time."

Messi, who has now won the award the same amount of times as Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, posed with his four Golden Shoes and had photographs taken with Suarez, his family and a group of Barca directors, including president Bartomeu.

On the midweek draw with Juventus in the Champions League, Messi added: "Whenever I'm on the bench there's a bit of fuss. It's true I don't like being out the team, I prefer to take part and help on the pitch, but I understand the season is long and you have to take care of yourself because they're getting even longer."



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