The 33-year-old forward is yet to announce his plans for the future, despite his contract at the club expiring this summer. Could his name appearing on the menu at the Barca Cafe, which was opened on Friday outside the Camp Nou stadium, be an encouraging sign for Barca fans?
Messi’s name is attached to two of the dishes: a “healthy” pizza (whatever that means) with ham and cheese takes his signature, as does the baked salmon with potatoes and courgettes.
“The healthy recipes are recommended by the nutritionists at Barcelona,” the club said after president Joan Laporta cut the ribbon.
“Barca Cafe is part of the club’s bid to offer the very finest cuisine at Camp Nou and to showcase the very finest examples of Catalan gastronomy in the form of dishes inspired by the tastes of the players themselves.”
The eatery has a capacity for 170 diners, dependent on coronavirus restrictions at any given time. It is decked out in Barca’s blaugrana colours and has club memorabilia draped across the walls.
Burger buns carry the Barca badge and beers and coffees also arrive with the crest etched on the froth, while all the chairs and stools have shirt numbers on the back.
The cafe is part of a large redevelopment project taking place outside of Camp Nou and Barca say it will be the “crowning glory of the future Barca Rambla,” a boulevard outside the stadium where fans will be encouraged to meet before and after home games and when the team is playing away from home.
It’s all part of a long-term plan to keep fans around the ground for longer, to improve the matchday experience and, of course, to ensure their money is spent on site.
With Barcelona operating with a debt of around €1.2 billion ($1.45bn), they will hope they can shift an awful lot of pizzas next season.