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We have to prepare for life without Messi – Barca president

FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu accepts that the club has to do what some may consider virtually unthinkable – prepare for life without Leo Messi.

Messi has led the Barcelona side almost since making his first team debut as a 17-year-old and although there is no talk of him retiring in the near future, the fact is that he is now 32-years old and can’t go on forever.

“We think it is our obligation to work on the post-Messi era,” admitted Bartomeu in an interview in Spain.

“We are thinking about a post-Messi era because we are bringing in new players,” he said in reference to this summer’s signing of Antoine Griezmann and the arrival of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele two years ago.

Coutinho has struggled to find his best form at the Camp Nou, but after a difficult first year Dembele last season showed he can be an important player for Barcelona.

“We have to think about this changing era when Messi will give up playing football but, as president, I hope that he is going to play with us for many more successful years” said the Barca President.

Barca have just returned from a week-long trip to Japan and the coming week wil see them continue with preparations for next weekend’s traditional Joan Gamper friendly game against Arsenal.

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