Lionel Messi will be kept under contract with Barcelona until 2018. Adding years onto his current deal was clearly the best choice for both the Argentine star and his club.
The Guardian's Sid Lowe reported the details of Messi’s new deal:
Barcelona have agreed to extend Lionel Messi's contract until 2018, when he will be 31. The Argentinian's previous deal ran until 2016 but negotiations have been swift and he has expressed a desire to see out his career at Camp Nou.
His formal buy-out clause remains at €250m (£203m) and his salary, which is heavily driven by incentives, is understood to begin at around €11m a year net.
Few relationships between a club and a player are as unique and productive as the one enjoyed by Barça and Messi. Even the Spanish giants’ most ardent detractors would likely admit that seeing the 25-year-old in a different jersey would be an unseemly sight.
The special bond between Messi and his current club started very early. As his ESPN Soccernet profile notes, Messi had a hormonal condition that affected his growth and threatened his career.
His club at the time, Newell’s Old Boys, could not pay for the necessary treatment, forcing Messi’s family to move to Spain. Barcelona recognized his talent and took him into its academy while covering all of his medical expenses.
The rest, as they say, is history. But it has been so truly remarkable that it is worth rehashing.
Messi has been a part of five La Liga-winning sides at Barça in addition to three victorious Champions League campaigns.
The little genius’ name is also littered all over Barcelona’s list of club, European and world records. It includes Messi’s all-time-best mark of 73 goals in a season and his three Ballon d’Or awards, which he will likely add another to in a few weeks.
In addition, he recently broke Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record for most goals in a calendar year, and he currently has an astonishing 90 goals since New Year’s Day.
Simply put, Messi is the best player in the world and no other footballer is even close. This is all the motivation Barcelona needs to ensure that he stays in Catalonia until he retires.
For Messi, the unique beginning to his career has created a loyalty to his club that is uncommon in European soccer today.
After the recent extension, the bond will remain intact, and this is how it should be.