BARCELONA – Argentine forward Lionel Messi has inked a contract extension with Barcelona until June 2021, Barça announced on Saturday.
The Catalan club also announced that the buyout clause in the new contract was worth 700 million euros ($835.31 million), more than double of the 300-million-euro clause in the previous contract.
“I’ve always said that FC Barcelona is my home and I’m happy to extend my relationship with the club,” Messi said in a statement issued on his official Facebook account.
“I’m going to continue giving my all to offer our fans more joy, they’re the ones who encourage us every day and give us the strength to continue fighting for all of our targets,” he added.
Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, justified the increased buyout clause with the new market situation.
“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. The buyout clause had to be modified, and it has gone from €300m to €700m,” he said.
Bartomeu was referring to the situation after Neymar paid a record of 234 million euros to rescind his contract with Barça, joining French club Paris Saint Germain.
Messi, who received his fourth European Golden Boot on Friday, made his official debut with the club at age of 17, four years after joining Barça.
Among the many records he holds, the 30-year-old Messi became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer with 507 goals so far, winning a record of 30 titles, the most titles won with a single Spanish club, tied with teammate Andres Iniesta.