November 25, 2017 / 12:29 PM / 23 days ago

Soccer-Messi signs new contract with Barca until 2021

BARCELONA, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona until 2021, the Liga leaders confirmed, ending speculation the five-times world player of the year could leave the club he has spent his entire career for free next June.

“FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentine superstar at the Club through the 2020/21 season,” said a statement from Barca, posting a picture of Messi signing the deal alongside president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

“The buyout clause was set at 700 million euros ($835.10 million).”

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.

Barca can extend their lead at the top of La Liga to seven points if they beat second-placed Valencia on Sunday. ($1 = 0.8382 euros) (Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Rex Gowar)

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