Lionel Messi agrees (his last?) new contract

Lionel Messi has agreed to a new contract with Barcelona until 2021, with the Argentine’s previous deal only running until 2018 – the new contract includes a compulsory buyout clause of €300m (£263m).

Messi rejected a new contract in May, prompting tentative speculation over a move away. But all those fears were removed when the Catalan club released the below statement.

“The club is very happy with the renewal and commitment of Messi, the best player in history.”

“[Messi] led the team to an era of extraordinary success, the likes of which has never been seen in world football.

“Leo Messi will not stop there – the Argentinian is in one of the best moments of his career and still has a lot more left to give, which is music to the ears of all Barca fans who will get to continue marvelling at his greatness for at least another four years,”

All things considered, it’s hardly a massive surprise that Messi has signed a new deal, and realistically, everyone knew he would. It seems pretty obvious that he was just waiting for his wedding to be over to agree to it.

Not that it would have been the easiest contract to negotiate. Messi will be 34 at the end of the deal, and it’s difficult to say exactly how good he’ll be come then or what kind of player they’ll be paying the money for.

Barcelona and Real Madrid have dominated the last decade on the back of Messi and Ronaldo. However, both are in their thirties now. We only have a few more years of them at this level (at least you’d think so, anyway), and within this new contract for Messi, things will change a bit.

Barcelona have guaranteed their place as one of the elite of the elite with this new deal – for another couple of years at least. Messi will slow down, however, and that will naturally slow down Barcelona, too – you can’t expect to replace the greatest.

There’s at least another couple of years to go before all of that though. Now it’s just time to enjoy that fact that arguably the most exciting player of all-time will be playing out his peak in the environment he thrives in.