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Denis Suarez: Barcelona players 'calm' over Lionel Messi contract delay

Ross Dyer and Paul Mariner discuss Lionel Messi's future at Barcelona and ponder a reunion with Guardiola at Man City.

Denis Suarez insists there is no panic among the Barcelona players as the wait goes on for Lionel Messi to sign his new contract with the club.

Barca announced in July that Messi had agreed new terms with the club until 2021, with his current deal due to expire at the end of the season.

However, with December approaching, the new contract has still not been signed by the Argentina forward and -- in theory -- he becomes free to negotiate with other clubs in January.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu says there is nothing to worry about and that two of the three contracts have been signed by Messi's father -- an image rights deal and a contract with the player's foundation -- but the length of the delay is becoming a cause for concern.

"With respect to [Messi's] contract renewal, I think he will be here for a long time yet," midfielder Denis said at a promotional event on Thursday.

"On Friday, he will be at training and on Sunday he will play against Valencia. There's calm because Barca is the club of Leo's life. We hope he stays here for a long time and that we can keep on enjoying him."

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has made 394 appearances for Barcelona.

Messi leaving Barcelona would previously have been unthinkable, but Neymar's decision to quit the club for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer suggests anything is possible.

Nearly four months on, Denis admits Neymar's departure has been a big loss, but hit back at criticism that Barca -- who are 18 games unbeaten in all competitions under Ernesto Valverde -- have become boring to watch.

"We knew losing Neymar would be significant for the team," he added. "He is one of the best three players in the world.

"But we're getting over his loss with some incredibly good form. I don't think the way we're playing is boring, nor is it not respecting the club's identity.

"If Barca are boring people by being top of the league, in the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners... If a team that's scoring so many goals and conceding so few is boring, then I don't know what to say."

The Catalan side travel to second-placed Valencia on Sunday and a win would see them extend their lead at the top of the La Liga table to seven points, while maintaining, at least, a 10-point advantage over Real Madrid.

But Denis isn't getting carried away yet. He said: "The team to fear most is Valencia because they're our next opponent and because they're just four points behind us, but there's still a long way to go.

"We're not even in January yet. Anything can happen. Even if we win at Mestalla, La Liga won't be won."

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.


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