Argentine forward Lionel Messi has penned a new contract keeping him at the Camp Nou until the end of the 2020/21 season. Messi, a product of Barcelona’s famed youth academy La Masia, will have spent 17 years in Barcelona’s first team when the deal finally expires. Messi moved up the ranks at the academy that produced players with technical excellence dubbed as the golden generation which included Carlos Puyol, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Gerald Pique, Victor Valdes, Pedro among others.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner now looks set to end his career in Catalunya. Barca’s attempt to sign Marco Verratti from PSG backfired, and it was Neymar Jr. who switched Camp Nou for the Parc des Princes. Paris Saint Germaine signed Brazilian playmaker, a member of the MSN trio which consisted of Messi, Suarez, and Neymar, for a world record fee of $263 million paid in full. Last summer Neymar became the most expensive footballer smashing the previous record set following Paul Pogba’s move from Juventus to Manchester United in the summer of 2016. The board at Camp Nou led by President Josep Bartomeu has worked to ensure they won’t lose their prized asset whose contract was up this summer. His release clause has been set to $853 million effectively tying down the superstar.
Messi who made his senior debut on October 16th, 2004 at the age of 17 against Espanyol 4,789 days ago has since played 603 games for Barcelona and scored 523 goals. He is La Liga’s all-time top scorer having scored 361 league goals. He has won 30 trophies which include 8 Liga titles, 5 Copa Del Rey titles, 6 Spanish Super Cup, 4 Champions League and 3 UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Cup World Club title.
When the newly inked deal expires, Messi currently 30 years old will be 34. The new buyout clause is meant to keep off potential suitors like PSG and Manchester City who have been reportedly interested in his services. It has been rumored that the Citizens’ Manager Pep Guardiola would be interested in reuniting with his former player. Had he allowed his current deal to run down, Messi would have been free to talk to potential clubs as from January as he would have become a free agent in the summer. After an incredible career that has seen him break most footballing records, Messi can only go on to break more records now that the uncertainty about his future has been settled. He is one of the greatest footballers to have graced the beautiful game.
Messi’s new contract in numbers.
Length: 4 years
Buyout clause: € 700 million more than double his previous release clause of € 300 million
Contract renewal premium: € 50 Million
Weekly wage: € 500,000