His association with Barcelona has stood the test of time. Lionel Messi though may finally look beyond his childhood club and has hinted of a move away from Camp Nou. (Also Read: Cristiano Ronaldo 'Almost Perfect', Says Ricardo Carvalho)
The Argentina captain, who came into Barcelona's fold at the age of 13, said in an interview to Ole newspaper that a possible move to another club should not be ruled out. "Things can change a lot in soccer. While I have always said I would like to stay there (at Barca) forever, sometimes things don't work out the way you would like," said the 27-year-old who has 250 goals from 287 appearances for the club.
A crucial part of the team's forward line, Messi's recent performance for Barcelona have failed to make headlines. The added off-field controversies - he has had problems with Spanish tax officials - have further dented his game. And while the four-time Ballon d'Or winner has said that he is currently focusing on helping Barcelona win titles, he insisted nothing should be ruled out in football.
"Yes, I have said it many times. If it was up to me I would stay forever," said the player who has won six La Liga titles with the club. "But as I just said, sometimes not everything happens in the way you would like. The more so in football, which is so volatile and where so many things happen."
Born in Rosario in Argentina, Messi suffered from growth hormone deficiency as a child. Despite the medical limitations, he impressed Barcelona officials on the soccer pitch and they offered to pay for his treatment if he joined their academy. In fact, Messi has repeatedly said that he has managed to excel as a player only because of the training he got at the Barcelona academy. "My brothers went back to Argentina but I always wanted to stay in Barcelona to fulfil my dream of playing for the first team."
Messi realised his dream when he made his league debut at 17 years and 114 days - becoming the third-youngest to play for the club. When he slammed his first goal for the club at 17 years, 10 months and seven days, Messi also became the youngest-ever to score for Barcelona in La Liga. Numerous goals,laurels and about ten years later, Messi is ready to look beyond if a contract - expected to be a record fee - is offered to him in the time to come.
As for Barcelona, the club will look to make the most of Messi while he is playing for them. The team is currently second - two points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid.