Lionel Messi isn’t going anywhere…
The 30-year-old Argentine soccer star has ended speculation about his future by signing a new contract with Futbol Club Barcelona until 2021.
Messi’s previous deal was due to expire at the end of the season, but this is the ninth professional contract the Argentina international has signed since he moved to Camp Nou and commits him to the club until he is 34.
Barca announced the news in an official club statement, which read: “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.
“The buyout clause was set at €700m. Thus, by the time the new deal expires, Messi will have spent 17 years with the first team.”
On his official Twitter account, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “We are in luck with the Barça players. We continue to enjoy the best player in the history of football.”
Messi avoided the chance to clear up the doubts about his Barcelona contract situation as he accepted the European Golden Shoe award on Friday.
Barcelona had already announced that Messi had agreed to a new deal until 2021 in July but the forward had not yet signed the contract himself.
There had been some concern over his future as Barca allowed him to edge closer to the end of his deal.
At various points throughout the last year he was linked with a move away from Catalonia, with a number of clubs reported to be monitoring the situation, including Manchester City.
However, Barca always remained optimistic that he would renew, telling ESPN FC in November that they were confident he would pen a new deal.
Messi joined Barca in 2001 from Newell’s Old Boys, made his first-team debut against Espanyol in 2004 and has since gone on to win 30 trophies with the club, including eight La Ligas and four Champions Leagues.
Messi scored the first of his club record 523 goals — they have come in just 602 matches — against Albacete in May 2005 and has since claimed the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, more than any other player.