Argentina and FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has signed a new contract that will keep him at the Spanish club through 2021. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner recently bagged his fourth Golden Shoe award as the top scorer with 37 goals in all competition in Europe.
Messi has now equalised rival Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo's tally of 4 golden shoes and has now finally signed a four -year contract with the Catalans with a release clause of 700 Million Euros.
The 30-year-old's former contract was set to finish in the summer of 2018 and was unsure about his future. As media reports suggest, Manchester City were interested in bringing the forward to the Etihad next year which will reunite Messi with his former manager Pep Guardiola. Guardiola and Messi won the treble in the year 2013.
The club says that the new contract includes a buyout clause of 700 million euros (835 million dollars). The Argentine received his fourth Golden Shoe award on Friday for leading all of Europe's leagues in scoring last season.
The Argentine thanked his teammates and the management that ensured their faith in him throughout the 13 years he has been with the Catalans.
"I have never considered myself a forward. I have been lucky enough to score goals," Messi said. "I have grown both on and off the pitch. I keep improving and adding things to my game, and I enjoy playing more and more."
Messi has started the 2017 season with a bang and has been on a goal spree, netting in 12 goals in 12 league matches. Former Barcelona player and now PSG star Neymar who left the club for a whopping world transfer record of 222 Million Euros, has also been highly impressive. The Brazilian's departure has deeply affected the Catalan club and have found young Frenchman Ousmane Dembele as his replacement. Dembele is currently injured and is expected to be back in training late December.
Messi recently helped his nation reach the 2018 World Cup after their chances became incredibly slim with their poor performance in the group matches. With the Ballon d'Or awards edging closer, the Argentine will look to bag a historic sixth while Ronaldo will look to equalise with the Argentine by winning his fifth with Madrid.
(With AP Inputs)