Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says that the five-time Ballon d'Or is already playing under his new contract's terms.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has once again insisted that Lionel Messi's new contract has been signed and that the five-time Ballon d'Or is already playing under its terms.
Barça announced an agreement with Messi over a new long-term contract during the summer, with the player expected to formally put to paper as soon as convenient.
But it was reported several weeks later that the record breaking player still hadn't actually signed on the dotted line, leading to speculation he was having second thoughts and could yet quit the club as a free agent when his previous deal was due to expire in 2018.
Bartomeu then contested that version of events, claiming the terms were signed on Messi's behalf by his father, Jorge, who has the power to do so.
All that was left to do was take official photographs with Messi himself. But even a week after the international break ended, that still hasn't happened and Bartomeu is now rolling out the same answer to the same questions.
"We will take the photo with Messi's signature, hopefully before the end of the year, but the contract has been signed by his father, who has the power of his image rights," the president explained to Catalan broadcaster 8TV.
"This contract is signed until 2021 and he is already playing under it."
Messi, who now semi regularly captains Barça as injuries pile up for Andres Iniesta, has started the new season in fine form in a team that looks revitalised under new coach Ernesto Valverde.
The 30-year-old has scored seven times in his last three games in La Liga and the Champions League, with his overall tally for the campaign so far standing at eight in six games.