Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is remaining hopeful that Lionel Messi will commit his future to the club as uncertainty continues to surround the Argentine's future.
Club captain Messi, 33, is approaching the final six months of his Barca contract and will be free to negotiate terms with other clubs from January 1. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner attempted to leave the club during the off-season, following Barca's catastrophic 8-2 defeat in the Champions League, but ultimately stayed after the release clause in his contract had expired.
With Barcelona currently without a president following Josep Maria Bartomeu's resignation in October, the club and its star player have not been able to continue talks over a new contract, although there remain plenty of doubts over whether he would be interested in new terms.
Pique has now called on the club to do all they can to convince Messi to stay. When asked during a Q&A session, while attending the CRIS Cancer Foundation, if Messi would stay beyond the end of this season, the 33-year-old Spaniard said: "You will have to ask Leo, I don't know. We hope he stays. It's a personal decision. We will see. But for as long as he's wearing the Barca shirt, there is always hope. We hope to seduce him to stay for many more years."
Messi has spent his entire career at Barcelona, playing a key role in helping the club win 23 major trophies and becoming Barca's all-time leading goalscorer.
However, his relationship with Barca has become strained in recent times, with Messi being publicly critical of the club's transfer policies, its handling of the salary reduction process during the coronavirus pandemic, and the treatment of close friend Luis Suarez, who left to join Atletico Madrid in the summer.
More recently, Messi has been accused by Antoine Griezmann's former agent of leading a "reign of terror" at Barca which has made it difficult for the French forward to settle since his move from Atletico Madrid in 2019. Both Messi and Griezmann have denied the claims.
Barcelona's current form will hardly help matters. The Catalans languish in 14th place in La Liga having lost three of their opening eight games, although they do have some games in hand on teams above them. They are fairing better in the Champions League and have qualified for the knockout stages after winning their first four group games.
Barca next face Osasuna at Camp Nou on Sunday and after being rested for the 4-0 Champions League win at Dynamo Kiev in midweek, Messi will return to the side for the upcoming league game.
"Messi had a good break this week, as did Frenkie de Jong," Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman said on Saturday. "Both had played nearly every minute for us this season, in addition to many games with their national teams.
"They can't keep going and going and going. To avoid problems, we left them at home in midweek. But we will need them [against Osasuna]."