For months, confusion over the contract of Lionel Messi reigned.

The Barcelona superstar was seemingly allowed to enter the final eight months of his contract, as speculation increased that he could, after 17 years, leave Camp Nou.

Barcelona announced in July that a deal was agreed, on a contract until 2021. But the formal declaration, featuring the player's signature, wasn't forthcoming.

Club executive Oscar Grau announced in October it had been done, while La Liga president Javier Tebas echoed those sentiments earlier this month. But the months dragged on and the worries of Barcelona fans rose.

However, throughout, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu remained insistent - even in the face of very public criticism.