Messi signs new four-year contract with €700m release clause

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Barcelona maestro Lionel Messi has ended speculation surrounding his future by signing a new four-year contract with the Blaugrana, which contains a €700m (£626m) release clause.

Messi, 30, has been in predictably phenomenal form during the new season, helping Barcelona race to the top of La Liga, four points ahead of a resurgent Valencia, who they face on Sunday (26 November) and 10 points clear of arch-rivals Real Madrid.

The five-time Ballon D’Or winner has also helped Barcelona to the group stages of the Champions League, which he has won four times, and will now be able focus on helping Ernesto Valverde’s men achieve further glory with the uncertainty surrounding his long-term future finally put to bed.

Messi’s previous contract at the Camp Nou was due to expire at the end of the current campaign, and although a renewal was reportedly agreed in July, the confirmation of his new deal will end rumours of a move away from Catalonia and links to Manchester City.

The new deal marks a wonderful couple of days for Messi, who has scored an astonishing 523 goals for Barcelona; on Friday the Argentinian superstar was awarded the fourth Golden Shoe of his career for being the top scorer in Europe. The Rosario-born attacker has already scored 20 goals for the Valverde’s side this season, and he will hope to add to his his bulging tally when Barcelona travel to face Valencia.

The news of Messi’s renewal was unsurprisingly welcomed by Barca and indeed football fans from around the world, including the club’s president Josep Bartomeu, who took to Twitter to say: “We are in luck with the Barça players. We continue to enjoy the best player in the history of football.”

Messi’s contract expires in the summer of 2021, and the former Newell’s Old Boys starlet will presumably finish his glittering career with the Catalan giants. Messi has scored 523 goals in just 602 appearances for the Blaugrana and looks likely to add a ninth La Liga title to his incredible trophy haul at the end of the current campaign. – IBTimes