Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with FC Barcelona until 2021, the Spanish team confirmed on Saturday, which ends speculation that the player could leave the club.
Messi has been a five-times world player of the year and has spent his entire career on the club. He is also Barca’s all-time top scorer with 523 goals.
"The buyout clause was set at 700 million euros,” said the team in a statement after releasing a photo of the player shaking hands with the team's president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The player agreed to the contract in July but the club didn't release the usual signing photo, sparking rumors that he could leave the club.
“We should have signed this a long time ago and now we have and I‘m happy to continue with the club, which is my home,” Messi said.
Messi has won eight Liga competitions, five King’s Cup and four Champions League since he begun in the Catalan club in 2004. He joined their youth academy in 2000 when he was 13.
”My dream was to finish my career at Barça and we are moving down that path. Our objective is to continue achieving great things, fill the trophy cabinet and keep making history," Messi said.
Bartomeu hinted that Messi’s clause had grown from 300 to 700 million euros, after losing Brazilian player Neymar after the Paris St Germain paid 222 million euros of this clause.
“It’s a new contract that we have signed today because although the one we signed in June was up to par with his greatness as a player, the new one is more in line with the current situation in the ever-changing world of football,” Bartomeu said.
“It’s a great contract for the best player in football history. It fills me with pride to see him with us renewing his love for the club.”