MESSI GETS £80m SIGN ON BONUS ON TOP OF HIS £500,000 A WEEK SALARY
Lionel Messi has signed a new four-year contract at Barcelona worth £500,000 a week, extending his stay at the Nou Camp until 2021. Barcelona announced the news on Saturday morning accompanied by a picture of Messi penning the deal alongside club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Messi’s contract also includes a buyout clause worth €700million (£626m) as Barcelona bid to ward off other clubs interested in the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. In addition to the £500,000-a-week wage packet, Messi will receive a record-breaking £80million signing bonus for extending his stay at Barcelona.
The club tweeted out the news accompanied by the message, ‘the story continues’ as they reeled off a number of statistics associated with his Barcelona career. ‘He made his debut 4,788 days ago. He has played 602 games. He has scored 523 goals. He has won 30 trophies. The story continues’, the full tweet read.
Club president Bartomeu also tweeted, calling Messi ‘the best player in the history of football’ and insisting the club were lucky to have him. At the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, Messi will have spent 17 years at Barcelona after joining the club from Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys as a 13-year-old.
Barcelona had repeatedly insisted Messi had signed the new contract but Saturday’s official announcement finally puts an end to speculation surrounding his future. Messi also has the option of extending his stay by a further year.
Club executive Oscar Grau announced at the club’s general assembly in October that the four-year extension had been agreed while La Liga president Javier Tebas repeated those sentiments earlier this month. Messi’s previous contract was set to expire this summer and there were growing concerns among the Nou Camp hierarchy that he could walk away for nothing in July.
Reports in Spain suggested Manchester City were preparing to offer £358m for the Argentine as Pep Guardiola attempted to seal a reunion with Messi at the Etihad. The forward would have been free to talk with other clubs in January but Barcelona have now tied down their talisman until 2021.
Messi claimed his fourth European Golden Shoe on Friday in reward for his 37 La Liga goals last season, though Barcelona were pipped to the title by Real Madrid. At the ceremony, Messi claimed Barcelona were not among the favourites for the Champions League this year and instead tipped Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.