Lionel Messi will require a sheikh’s ransom to pry him from his “home.”
The FC Barcelona superstar signed a new contract Saturday just seven months before his previous deal was set to expire. Messi’s new contract ties him to Barcelona through the 2020-21 season and contains a €700 million (£626 million/$835 million) buyout clause, which all but ends any speculation he might leave the club as a free agent or for a discounted price in the near future.
Messi will earn €29 million (£26 million/$35 million) per season in addition to an €89 million (£80 million/$107 million) signing bonus under terms of his new contract, according to The Mail’s Robert Cottingham.
In addition to the £500,000-a-week wage packet, Messi will receive a record-breaking £80 million signing bonus for extending his stay at Barcelona.
Messi had agreed to the new contract in July but delayed signing it for four-plus months. He would have been free to negotiate with other clubs Jan. 1 if he didn’t sign a new contract by then.
“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 told Barca’s television channel, per Reuters. ”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.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have won a great many things and I hope there will be more in the future.”
Messi joined Barcelona from Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys in 2001 when he was just 13. He debuted with Barcelona’s first team in 2004 and has since established himself as one of the greatest players of all time.
Barcelona is keen to keep the 30-year-old at the club “for life,” and this contract extension is a step toward doing so.
Messi’s astronomical buyout clause is designed to prevent another club from poaching him without Barcelona’s consent, as Paris Saint-Germain did to Neymar last summer in a record-setting transfer worth around €222 million (£197.3 million/$257 million).
“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,” Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said. “The buyout clause had to be modified, and it has gone from 300 million euros to 700 million euros. 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.”
Messi had been linked with a potential transfer to Manchester City, but the Premier League club probably should look elsewhere for its next superstar signing.
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