Barcelona has locked up Lionel Messi through 2018, and securing the 25-year-old striker for the next five years ensures both Barca and Messi a full decade of dominance (2008-2018).
The two sides reached an agreement on a contract extension through 2018 according to the Associated Press via ESPN. Key players Carlos Puyol and Xavi Hernandez also agreed to extensions according to the report.
But clearly the most important player of the group is Messi.
The Argentine star is now guaranteed to remain in a role and situation that has brought out some of the best football by a forward ever witnessed.
Arguably the greatest player on the planet today, Messi is the hands-down most lethal scorer in the game and has the numbers to prove it. He has 287 goals for Barcelona in just over 350 career appearances over the past eight years, including 194 goals in 230 La Liga matches for the club.
But Messi took the next step in 2008-09, when he doubled his scoring output from the season before and became the main attraction for Barca's Champions League title-winning unit in 2009, and again in 2011.
As far as team success is concerned, Barca has been Spain's most dominant club as of late and has experienced considerable UEFA Champions League success since Messi's arrival in 2004. The club now looks poised to add a few more mighty trophies to the case with Messi still in his prime.
Who knows how much hardware the duo of Leo and Barca will have in its hands before Messi hangs up his boots for good?
But in addition to individual and group awards, Messi and his Barcelona teammates can now focus on building on an already impressive legacy in Europe. The future is certain. The only things to be determined in Camp Nou over the next five years are championships.
By extending Lionel Messi through 2018, Barcelona has done everything in its power to field the best squad possible and to ensure a decade of dominance for both club and player.
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