Football star’s insane $1 billion buyout
BARCELONA have confirmed Lionel Messi has signed new contract with the club.
His new deal will run until June 30, 2021 - and he has a $1 billion release clause.
Barcelona had initially announced the signing of the new contract in July following his wedding.
But, it was later revealed the deal was not yet official as he was yet to put pen-to-paper.
However fans can finally relax, as the new contract is now signed - his eighth with the Catalan giants.
"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," An official statement read.
"The buyout clause was set at $1 billion.
"Thus, by the time the new deal expires, the 30-year-old striker will have spent 17 years with the first team."
The revelation that Messi had not yet put pen-to-paper on a new contract was the icing on the cake in a torrid summer for the Catalans.
Having seen archrivals Real Madrid claim La Liga and Champions League glory, they lost star striker Neymar when Paris Saint-Germain met his $346 million buyout clause.
Their supposed demise was further emphasised when they failed to land top target Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool.
And Barcelona were determined not to let the jewel in their crown leave for any price - despite the risk he could leave for free when his existing deal ended next summer.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was keen on a reunion with the man he built his Barca team around.
Etihad chiefs even met Messi's father and agent Jorge to discuss a transfer earlier this year.
While there had also been interest from clubs in the Chinese Super League.
But any move now appears impossible.
The original contract Messi agreed in July is understood to have included a buyout clause of just $525 million
But Barcelona decided to dramatically increase the price after the Neymar deal changed the footballing landscape forever.
Messi joined Barcelona in 2000 at the age of 13 made his professional debut for the Nou Camp giants at the age of 17 against Catalan rivals Espanyol.
He is now considered one of the greatest players in the game's history, having won the Ballon d'Or a record five times.
Messi, 30, is also the most decorated non-Spanish player in La Liga history with eight titles, five Copa del Rey winner's medals and he also claimed Spanish Super Cup glory on six occasions.
While, on the continent, he has four Champions League honours and has won the Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup three times each.
He is the top goal scorer in La Liga history with 361 goals.