Lionel Messi has finally committed his future to Barcelona to ward off clubs circling for the Argentine superstar forward’s services following reports of a reluctance to sign a new deal.
The LaLiga giants and current leaders announced on Saturday on their official website that Messi has signed a new three-year contract with a huge buyout clause.
“FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the Club through the 2020/21 season,” Barcelona stated.
“The buyout clause was set at €700m. Thus, by the time the new deal expires, the 30-year-old striker will have spent 17 years with the first team.
“Lionel Messi joined Barça back in 2000 as a 13-year-old, arriving from Newell’s Old Boys. After impressing throughout the various youth categories, he made his first team debut at just 16 years of age in a friendly against FC Porto, before making his official debut the following season against Espanyol at age 17.
“Shortly after, he scored his first senior goal with a clever lob against Albacete at the Camp Nou.
“The rest is history. Leo Messi has since gone on to break just about every record and has become the greatest player in history with a staggering numbers of goals, titles, records, and individual and team awards. Now, at 30 years of age, Messi is in his 14th season with the first team and, with his new deal, will be dressed in blaugrana for at least 17 seasons in total.”
Messi has won eight LaLiga titles, four Champions Leagues, five Copas del Rey, seven Spanish Super Cups, three European Super Cups, and three Club World Cups with Barcelona. His 30 titles are tied with teammate Andrés Iniesta for most in the club’s history.
The Argentine has won the Ballon d’Or award five times, more than any other Player in the history of the game, four Pichichi awards as the top scorer in the Spanish First Division, and four Golden Shoes as the top domestic scorer in Europe. Messi’s fourth Golden Shoe was officially handed over to him by his friend and teammate Luis Suárez on Friday.
Messi has scored 523 goals in 602 games and is both Barcelona’s and LaLiga’s all-time leading goalscorer.