Argentina's Lionel Messi looks on. REUTERS/Andres Stapff
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Barcelona's under-fire president Josep Maria Bartomeu launched a counterattack on his critics Tuesday by insisting a four-year contract extension for Lionel Messi has been signed by the player's agent and father, Jorge Horacio Messi.Barca announced a deal with the five-time World Player of the Year in July, but Messi himself is yet to put pen to paper amid rumors he is unhappy with the running of the club.However, Bartomeu described the loss of the Brazilian as an "opportunity" for Barca to build their team around the midfield rather than a superstar front three of Neymar, Messi and Luis Suarez.However, Barca missed out on a host of other targets, including Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, blaming the rampant inflation in the transfer market caused by PSG and Abu Dhabi-backed Manchester City.
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