LIONEL MESSI is edging closer to committing his future to Barcelona after the club offered him a ten-year deal, according to reports.
The Argentine is out of contract this summer following last season's high-profile fallout.
But a decade-long new deal would keep the 33-year-old at the club for the rest of his career.
So SunSport felt it was the perfect time to take a look at some of the longest football contracts of all-time.
Andres Iniesta was handed a lifetime contract by Barcelona in 2017 having already been at the club since he joined as a youth team player way back in 1996.
The midfield maestro would go on to leave in 2018, but he unquestionably goes down as one of Barca's all-time great players.
In 674 games for the club, Iniesta scored 57 goals and assisted a further 137.
He has played more games than all but two players in the history of Barcelona, behind only Lionel Messi and Xavi.
Legendary Real Madrid striker Raul was honoured with a lifetime contract in 2008 after 16 years at the club.
At the time, the Spaniard was Los Blancos' all-time top scorer, but he has since been eclipsed by Cristiano Ronaldo.
He left the Bernabeu to join Schalke in 2010, departing Madrid having scored 323 goals in 741 games and holding the record for most appearances in the club's history.
Also in 2008, fellow Real Madrid icon Iker Casillas was handed a lifetime contract alongside Raul.
The Spanish shot-stopper had been with the club since he was just nine years old, coming through their academy to play a startling 725 games for the European giants.
Five LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues later, he left in 2015 meaning he fell just 16 appearances short of Raul's club record.
Perhaps one of the lesser known long contracts, Brazilian left-winger Denilson joined Real Betis from Sao Paolo in 1998 for what was then a world record fee of £21.5million.
Along with the sizable price tag came a ten-year contract, a deal which is almost unheard of.
He remained at the club until 2005 but safe to say it did not work out for the South American as he departed having played 175 games, scoring just 13 goals and assisting five.
Eight years after signing for a record transfer fee, Denilson was playing for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia.
As Messi closes in on a new ten-year deal with Barcelona, it's important to remember this is not the first time the Argentine has been tied down for nearly a decade.
In 2005, when he was only just breaking through into the first team, the teenage prodigy agreed a nine-year contract which took him up to 2014.
Obviously, as we all know, a plethora of new deals have been agreed throughout his time at the Nou Camp.
And evidently they were all worth it – his 668 goals in 774 appearances just one of many statistics which testify to that.
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Another long-term contract which may not be too well-known to English football fans.
Forward Williams signed a nine-year deal with Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2019 and his release clause was set at £117m.
The 26-year-old has scored 64 goals in 291 appearances for the Basque side, but it remains to be seen whether he will repay the club for their lengthy trust in his services.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez is fast approaching ten years at the club.
Joining in 2012, the Spaniard was then handed a nine-year deal in 2017 and has been ever-present for Diego Simeone's side.
Saul has played at least 45 times for Atletico in each of the last five full seasons, a startling level of consistency from the 26-year-old who has played nearly 350 games for the club.
Maybe the most infamous long-term contract in English football history was the eight-year extension manager Alan Pardew agreed with Newcastle in 2012.
The deal came about after the Magpies boss guided them to fifth place in the 2011-12 Premier League season and picked up the manager of the season award in the process.
Two years later, Pardew agreed a compensation agreement with Newcastle and left the club for Crystal Palace.
His contract at Newcastle technically only expired last summer, six years after he left St James' Park.
As a teenager, Cesc Fabregas penned a nine-year deal to keep him at Arsenal until 2014.
But the midfielder did not see out the contract as he left for Barcelona in 2011.
However, 57 goals and 92 assists in 304 games for the Gunners would suggest he was worth the investment.
Another long-term deal that you would have to say – at this moment in time – has been a major flop.
Kepa Arrizabalaga joined Chelsea in 2018 for a world record fee for a keeper of £71.6m and also penned a seven-year contract to boot.
But he has never truly validated that price tag or contract length and was replaced as the No1 at the club last year when Edouard Mendy was signed by Frank Lampard.
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