Lionel Messi and Barcelona Agree to Contract Extension Until 2021

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2017

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 18: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the UEFA Champions League group D match between FC Barcelona and Olympiakos Piraeus at Camp Nou on October 18, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Barcelona on Saturday announced that Lionel Messi had finally signed a new contract at the club.

The Blaugrana posted the following via Twitter, revealing the 30-year-old had agreed to stay at the club until 2021:

A statement on the club's official website noted the buyout clause in Messi's new deal stands at €700 million (£626 million).

There had previously been concern among the Barca fanbase about Messi's renewal. Had the deal not been signed by January, any team outside of La Liga could have approached the Argentina international with a contract with a view to a summer switch.

And while there were noises coming out of the club that suggested all was under control, there was a nervousness with the extension not rubber-stamped. After all, it was back in July when Barcelona suggested a deal would be signed "in the coming weeks."

BT Sport Football suggested this bit of business is the most important in football:

The forward picked up the European Golden Shoe, handed to the leading goalscorer among Europe's top divisions, for the fourth time in his professional career on Friday. It was a reminder of how much influence he still has on the Blaugrana.

Messi will want to enjoy more success with Barca.
Messi will want to enjoy more success with Barca.VI-Images/Getty Images

Those who watch the Catalan giants won't need much refreshing, though, as Messi has continued to set incredible standards since making his first-team debut in 2004. He's won La Liga on eight occasions and the UEFA Champions League four times.

That he continues to be so prolific is a testament to Messi's genius. These numbers from Sky Sports Statto sum up just how consistent he has been: 

In recent years, he's taken up more of a withdrawn role in the Barcelona side, looking to link play and conjure chances for team-mates. But he still finds a way into dangerous positions and is still ruthless when chances drop to him.

There aren't many signs he's slowing down, either. More responsibility has been thrust on to him this season following Neymar's summer departure to Paris Saint-Germain, but Messi has flourished. He's netted 12 times in 12 league games, and the team has won 11 and drawn once.

Barcelona supporters endured a tough summer after Neymar left and the club struggled to secure key transfer targets. But ensuring Messi remains with the team for the foreseeable future will give all associated with the Blaugrana an incredible boost.