Barca’s president, Joan Laporta, was thrilled to make the deal official, “Leo should be the highest paid player in the squad. He deserves it. He’s the best player in the world and one of the best in football history. He’s content and that’s why he’s playing the way he is”. Leo joined Barca as a youth team player back in 2001 during which he won a host of trophies. He also played a leading role in the club’s recent unprecedented title treble – the Primera Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League. Scoring 38 goals in the three competitions, and helping with 16 assists, Messi is now a popular choice to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo as FIFA World Player of the Year this December.
The striker’s contract with Barca was to expire in 2014, but he signed a new one that keeps him with the club until 2016, which will probably be the best years in his career. Ending all speculation, Leo claimed, “I want to spend all my career here, in Barcelona, if it’s possible. I would love to finish at Barcelona. This contract is a result of everything that happened last year and of what I have done since coming into the first team. I am simply one more person in this spectacular group of players, where there is a team that is very nice, very united and in which I am simply part of continuing to win things”. According to the new deal, Messi’s release clause increases from 150million Euros to 250million Euros.
Laporta declared, “This is the best news Barca can receive today. It is important to have a player with his human qualities and his football ability. This deal recognizes all that he gives to Barcelona. It is impossible to imagine the team without a player like Messi. We expect Leo to retire here with Barca.” This announcement was expected for some time now and coach Pep Guardiola joined in to express his delight, “It’s an immense piece of news for the club and for the player that Messi is renewing his contract, as it also was when Victor Valdes and Xavi did so. People go to football to see the best and that’s what they are. It’s a privilege for Barca to have some of the best footballers like Messi.”
Next on the club president’s list is captain Carles Puyol, whose services he also hopes to retain at Camp Nou. There have been rumors that the captain is not too happy ever since Barca acquired Ukrainian defender, Dmytro Chygrynskiy. Laporta asserted, “I am convinced that Puyol is keen to end his career at Barca. But I also understand that a player of his age examines the possibility of having an experience outside of Spain.” Let’s see how the cookie crumbles over the next couple of months.