BARCELONA: Lionel Messi is to stay with Barcelona until 2021 afer agreeing a contract extension, as confirmed by the Catalan giants.
The five-times World Player of the Year scored 37 goals in the Spanish league and 11 in the Champions League last season.
Messi joined Barcelona at 13, made his debut in 2004 and has won 30 major honours including eight domestic league titles and four Champions League trophies. The 30-year-old has registered a record 507 goals for the club in all competitions and is the league’s record all-time scorer with 349 goals.
Messi married childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo in their native Argentina last week and is expected to fromally sign his new deal when he returns from his honeymoon later this month.
Jorge Messi, the 30-year-old Argentinian’s father and agent, opened negotiations with the club last December.
A club statement said: “FC Barcelona and Leo Messi have agreed on a contract renewal that will keep the Argentinian at the club until June 30th, 2021.
“The club is very happy with both the renewal and the commitment of Messi, the best player in history, who has played his full professional career at Barca and has led the team to an era of extraordinary success.”
Team mates Luis Suarez and Neymar also signed new deals last season.
Messi and his father remain embroiled in a tax fraud case in Spain after a Catalan court last July found them guilty on three counts of fraud from 2007 to 2009 to the tune of 4.1 million euros (3.56 million pounds) on image rights.
The two were handed 21-month prison sentences but may have that substituted for a fine after prosecutors said they were open to dropping the jail terms. Neither are expected to go to jail as under Spanish law sentences of less than two years can be served under probation.
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