RCELONA, Spain (Dispatches) — Even though Lionel Messi is still going strong, Barcelona's club president has already started to look ahead to that unwanted day when the club's all-time great steps off the Camp Nou field for the very last time.
Josep Bartomeu told media in an interview on Friday that "we are preparing this post-Messi era."
"In the next coming two or three seasons our leader will continue to be Leo Messi," Bartomeu said at Camp Nou Stadium. "But it's true that there are other young players who are coming. Players coming from abroad, but also players coming from our La Masia (academy). And we are very happy because we are preparing this post-Messi era."
Messi is Barcelona's all-time leading scorer with 609 goals in 697 games and has led it to 34 trophies. He remains the team's undisputed leader, its best scorer and passer of the ball. His place in the hearts of Barcelona's fans is only shared by Johan Cruyff, the former player and coach credited with establishing Barcelona's attacking style that Messi has exploited to perfection.
************Barcelona's club President Josep Bartomeu