BARCELONA: Lionel Messi’s valuation remains as high as ever. After collecting his Golden Shoe award on the one day he followed up by signing a contract extension with Barcelona until 2021.

A club statement confirming the permanence in the Catalan capital of the five-times world player of the year said: “FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the club through the 2020-21 season.

“The buyout clause was set at €700m.”

Messi agreed the new contract with Barcelona in July but the club did not release the usual photo of the player putting pen to paper, fuelling speculation he could depart in June 2018, when his previous deal ran out, for free.

Messi leads the scoring charts in La Liga with 12 goals and on Friday picked up the 2017 European Sports Media Golden Shoe for being the top scorer in a domestic league last season with 37 goals.