"He still has many years of football in him," responded Marc-Andre ter Stegen, with a reassuring smile, when asked about Lionel Messi's words after winning his sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday.
Messi had said: "I am aware of how old I am and that retirement is closer and closer all the time."
Ter Stegen, though, calmed down any Barça fans who had been alarmed by his comments: "We want him to stay for many years. While he is motivated, he will stay with us."
The German international also said that Messi has "dedicated his whole life to football" and is a fair winner of the 2019 Ballon d'Or. "He deserves it more than anyone."
The Barça goalkeeper had been nominated for the Yashin prize, given to the best stopper of the year, but came second to Liverpool's Alisson.
"Maybe one day I will win it," he said. "But what I am really worried about is the day to day, making sure I am at my best and helping the team."
On Barça's recent performances (wins against Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid), Ter Stegen said the team had played well at the Wanda Metropolitano as they beat the Rojiblancos 1-0 on Sunday, Messi the scorer.
"We know how to suffer and we had a really good attitude," he offered. "And the important thing is that we were able to get the win at a really difficult place to go."