Lionel Messi has signed a new four-year contract at Barcelona worth £500,000 a week, extending his stay at the Nou Camp until 2021.Barcelona announced the news on Saturday morning accompanied by a picture of Messi penning the deal alongside club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Messi’s contract also includes a buyout clause worth €700million (£626m) as Barcelona bid to ward off other clubs interested in the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.The announcement ends months of speculation surrounding Messi’s future at the Nou Camp.
In addition to the £500,000-a-week wage packet, Messi will receive a record-breaking £80million signing bonus for extending his stay at Barcelona.The club tweeted out the news accompanied by the message, ‘the story continues’ as they reeled off a number of statistics associated with his Barcelona career.
‘He made his debut 4,788 days ago. He has played 602 games. He has scored 523 goals. He has won 30 trophies. The story continues’, the full tweet read.
Club president Bartomeu also tweeted, calling Messi ‘the best player in the history of football’ and insisting the club were lucky to have him.
At the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, Messi will have spent 17 years at Barcelona after joining the club from Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys as a 13-year-old.
Reports in Spain suggested Manchester City were preparing to offer £358m for the Argentine as Pep Guardiola attempted to seal a reunion with Messi at the Etihad.
The forward would have been free to talk with other clubs in January but Barcelona have now tied down their talisman until 2021.
Messi claimed his fourth European Golden Shoe on Friday in reward for his 37 La Liga goals last season, though Barcelona were pipped to the title by Real Madrid.
At the ceremony, Messi claimed Barcelona were not among the favourites for the Champions League this year and instead tipped Man City and Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi has won four Champions League titles with Barcelona and scored in the 2011 final
‘City is one of the strongest teams at the moment together with PSG,’ he said via Spanish outlet Marca. ‘So far, they have been the two teams that have shown themselves to be favourites, but this is a very long and tough competition.’
‘I never rule out Madrid because although they’re not having the results that everyone expects, I have no doubt that in the end they will be fighting for everything, as they do every year’, Messi added.
‘Bayern is another big team that will also be there at the end, but it’s true that today City and PSG are the best’.
Messi has started the season in outstanding form once again for Barcelona, with 16 goals from 19 appearances in all competitions for the Catalan giants.
In total, Messi has scored 523 goals for Barcelona in just 602 appearances and he broke the club’s all-time goalscoring record over five years ago back in March 2012.