Barcelona have Lionel Messi retirement belief after beating Virgil van Dijk to Ballon d'Or

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Barcelona are relaxed over the prospect of Lionel Messi retiring in the next few years, according to reports. The Argentina international won his sixth Ballon d’Or on Tuesday night, beating Liverpool duo Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane to the prize.

Barcelona have long depended on Messi, with the Argentina international continuing to fuel their hunt for the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles this season.

The  32-year-old has been in sensational form for the La Liga giants this term, netting 11 goals from 14 games across all competitions.

Messi also recently scored the winner for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid, with Diego Simeone even applauding him on the touchline.

The Argentina international has spent all of his professional career at Barcelona, with the Catalan giants primed to try and get him to extend his contract.

And, regarding a possible retirement, Marca say Ernesto Valverde’s side believe that they’ll be well-equipped for when the time comes.

In recent years, Barcelona have gone big on transfers.

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Yet interest remains and Neymar could be persuaded to rejoin, particularly knowing that Messi is entering the twilight years of his career.

Meanwhile, speaking after winning the Ballon d’Or in Paris on Tuesday, Messi acknowledged retirement was approaching.

However, the Argentina international also insisted that he was still determined to keep playing for many years to come.

“I’m aware of how old I am,” Messi said.

“And I enjoy these moments so much because I know that retirement is approaching. Time flies.”

Messi’s mother, Celia Cuccittini, admitted she was surprised her son won the prize.

“I am very happy. We were not expecting this,” she said.

“We thought the fifth had been the last. Honestly, this was a beautiful surprise. He (Messi) did not expect it either.

“I do not know if he found out minutes before, I do not know, but we did not know anything.”

Messi is expected to play when Barcelona go up against Real Mallorca on Saturday (8pm). They go into the game sitting at the La Liga summit – above Real Madrid only on goal difference. 

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