FC Barcelona went out of their way to honour Lionel Messi for becoming the player with the most number of first team appearances for the club. A small ceremony was held at the Camp Nou just before the club played against Real Valladolid on Monday.
Messi overtook former teammate Xavi Hernandez who suited up for the Blaugrana a total of 767 times. The Argentine logged his 768th match before the international break and completed another one against Valladolid after the ceremony.
He will likely extend the record before the end of the current season. However, the big question on everyone's mind is if the six-time Ballon d'Or winner will extend his contract. Messi's wife Antonella Roccuzzo and the couple's children were present at the ceremony on Monday, and it is a well-known fact that the family wants to stay in Barcelona.
Messi had wanted to leave the club last summer, but a number of major changes and a strong showing towards the end of the season may be enough to convince him to stay.
Newly-elected club president Joan Laporta has made it his mission to convince Messi to stay, and is even reportedly contemplating offering a lifetime contract for however long the club legend wants to play.
Messi was presented with a framed jersey from his debut season for Barcelona, and posed for photos with his family. He looks like a much happier figure than he has been for the better part of the past year.
His contract will expire on June 30, but Laporta is confident that he can make an offer that the Argentine can't refuse. The club has just gotten within one point of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, and they will be aiming to defeat Real Madrid at the El Clasico this weekend before facing the leaders next month.
They still have every reason to believe that they can win the title, and a victory will surely influence Messi's final decision.