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Barcelona confident that Messi will sign extension this season

FC Barcelona v Real Betis Balompie - La Liga

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 20: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona kicks the ball during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis Balompie at Camp Nou on August 20, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

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Lionel Messi is now within 20 months of the expiration of his Barcelona deal, but the club’s sporting director has no doubt he’ll stay well into his thirties.

Robert Fernandez says Messi will sign a new deal this year, and that Barcelona’s past precedents should leave no question on the matter.

[ MORE: Yaya out of City’s UCL roster ]

The Blaugranas have locked up Neymar, Javier Mascherano, and others late in their contracts, and Messi will be no different according to this Q&A with Sport English:

--He’s the No.1 in the world, he could choose any team without a problem...

I’m delighted that he’s the No.1 in the world and that he’s with us. We will reach an agreement. I’m totally convinced.

--Is there a rush?

There’s no rush. This season we will reach an agreement. Like we did with Rafinha, Mascherano, Busi and Neymar.

Messi has admitted he’s considered returning to Newell’s Old Boys before he retires, but that time should be after a new contract in Europe (likely with Barca).

For one example, see Maxi Rodriguez. He was 31 when he left Liverpool for a return to NOB, and far off the pace of the world’s greatest player.

Follow @NicholasMendola