The megastar who is extremely down to earth: Lionel Messi’s ‘ridiculously typical life’: from picking up his kids from school with Suarez to family barbecues

Barcelona wants to keep Lionel Messi at the club until he is 36 years old, and they believe that his happiness off the field is just as vital in getting him to sign a new deal as his pleasure on the football.

Barcelona paper According to Mundo Deportivo, Messi, 31, has a clause in his contract that allows him to go for free in 2020 if he does not sign with another major European team.

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China, Japan, and Qatar will be lining up to take advantage of this opportunity. And Barcelona is concerned that he will follow Xavi to Doha to play for Al-Sadd, as well as Andres Iniesta, who traveled to Japan last summer to join Vissel Kobe in the J1 League.

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Lionel Messi remains king of Barcelona, adored by 100,000 fans at the Nou Camp every game and millions more worldwide

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Messi is able to lead a normal life there. He can even walk to the local school to pick up his sons, often with Luis Suarez, who lives on the same complex and has similar-aged children.

The Bellamar area, a seaside hamlet south of Barcelona with four miles of beaches nestled in the hills overlooking the Mediterranean, has long been the preferred gated enclave for outstanding local athletes.

Neymar, Javier Mascherano, and basketball great Pau Gasol have all owned property here. Philippe Coutinho arrived last year, having joined the team from Liverpool. Suarez joked last year that Messi is a nice neighbour with ‘excellent security, which benefits us all’.

In the luxury of his own home, he may kick around with his sons on the floodlit tiny football pitch in the back garden, relax by the pool, stare out over the ocean, and even indulge in the occasional BBQ, though not too frequently if he wants to advance his career.

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Messi reads with Thiago (left) and the pair breakfast with Mateo during glimpses inside the family home in Barcelona

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The family pose outside their beautiful home in the luxury gated community at Bellamar, on the coast south of the city

Messi’s connection to Argentina will always be strong, but while his brothers Rodrigo and Matias, younger sister Maria-Sol, and parents Celia and Jorge spend a lot of time in Rosario, particularly with his mother and sister, Messi is becoming increasingly established in his chosen country.

There are still annual trips to Buenos Aires, followed by a 200-mile journey from the city to Rosario, but family is just as likely to come to him today as he is to them.

Former Argentina captain Juan Sebastian Veron once stated that Messi would stay in his room at the South Africa World Cup in 2010 when Argentina’s hotel was packed with visiting relatives. Now that he has a family, he is more likely to be the focal point of social gatherings.

The fact that Messi’s roots in Barcelona grow deeper with time has made clubs more ready to disclose that they had attempted and failed to sign him at some point in the past.

Khaldoon al Mubarak, the president of Manchester City, has declared as much. When asked whether there was one player he had attempted but failed to sign, he responded to great applause: ‘Messi’.

And, just as Messi has never been interested in transferring elsewhere in Europe, he appears to have ruled out returning to South America for the time being.

Diego Maradona recently spoke out against him, indicating one of the reasons for this. Maradona was expressing a bad image of Messi that endures in Argentina.

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After growing up in Argentina it is no surprise that he is a fan of barbeques, but has had to cut down for health reasons

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Antonella shared a picture of Messi enjoying a nap on their enormous sofa, piled high with plush cushions

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The Messi family count as close friends Cesc Fabregas, a childhood friend at Barcelona, and his wife, Daniella

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The Messis are also very close to his current Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez, and their families often holiday together

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