MADRID, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu says fans should not be worried that the club's star player Leo Messi could walk away for free at the end of the season.
Bartomeu appeared on Barcelona's TV station to give a message of calm after revelations this week that Messi's current contract includes a clause which means the 32 year-old could walk away from the club if he wanted to at the end of the current season.
Messi's current deal takes him up to June 2021, but also includes the get out clause, which the Barca President confirmed does exist.
"Messi signed until 2021. It was agreed that at the end of the penultimate season he is at liberty to leave for free," he said.
Bartomeu said Messi's service at the club since the age of 13 means he had "earned that freedom to decide his future, but he is very 'cule' (a Barca fan)and I am calm," he commented that other club greats, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol had similar clauses at the end of their Barca careers.
"Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol all had the same clause and we couldn't give Messi a different clause, but I repeat, I am in no doubt he will stay for many years," he insisted.
A calf injury has so far kept Messi out of the Barca side this season, but he is expected to return next weekend for a tough league game at home to Valencia.