Barcelona legend Xavi has advised star forward Lionel Messi to commit his future to the Catalan club by signing a new deal at the Camp Nou.
The La Liga outfit announced in July that the Argentine international had agreed a deal until 2021 with a €300m (£266.6m, $352.5m) release clause. La Liga president Javier Tebas also recently confirmed that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner had committed his long-term future to Ernesto Valverde's side. However, the 30-year-old is yet to put pen-to-paper on the contract.
Messi's current deal with the Spanish league leaders will run down at the end of the 2017/18 season. Barcelona's failure to tie him to a new contract before the end of this calendar year will allow him to negotiate with clubs outside Spain from January.
Xavi, who played alongside Messi until 2015, stressed Barcelona needed the Argentine, adding that it would be good for the Camp Nou outfit if the South American star signs a contract extension.
"We are not sure [if he has signed] as the Barca president said [he has]. But for me, it's done. Leo Messi needs Barca and, especially, Barca need Messi. It would be very good for Barcelona if Messi stayed there for his entire career," Xavi told Goal.com.
"As a member of Barcelona, I would like Messi to remain at Barcelona for his entire career because we have a better chance of winning titles if he stays at Barca. He is the best player in the history of the game," he added.
Messi has been linked with a move to Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola at the helm at the English club. The star forward earlier played under Guardiola at Barcelona, and The Sun reported that the Premier League leaders are looking to sign him on a free transfer next summer. It also claimed the player could be looking for a "fresh start" in England next season.
According to The Sun, City are willing to offer Messi a £40m ($53m) signing bonus and a five-year contract worth £500,000-a-week ($661,780 per week).
It remains to be seen whether he will officially sign on the dotted line to commit his future to Barcelona or look for a move away from the club as a free agent at the end of the season.