Messi signs new contract in big win for Barcelona

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Barcelona enjoyed a big win Saturday without even playing.

Lionel Messi finally put Barcelona fans at ease by signing a new contract that will keep the Argentina forward at the Spanish club through 2021 when he will be 34.

“I’m happy to continue with the club, which is my home,” Messi said. “My dream was to finish my career at Barca and we are moving down that path.”

With his former contract set to run out next summer, Messi would have been free to listen to offers from other teams on Jan. 1. That approaching deadline had generated speculation that Messi could follow Neymar’s lead and leave.

Messi’s new deal includes a buyout clause of 700 million euros ($835 million). The massive figure is aimed at keeping away even the likes of French side Paris Saint-Germain, which secured Neymar in the summer by triggering his buyout clause with a record 222 million euros ($262 million) payout.

Club president Josep Bartomeu said that Barcelona and Messi had already agreed to a new deal in June, but that following Neymar’s departure they revised it to more than double the buyout clause. It had originally been set at 300 million euros ($358 million).

Bartomeu said the new contract “is more in line with the current situation in the ever-changing world of football.”

The club did not reveal any more financial details of the contract, including Messi’s salary. According to El Mundo newspaper, Messi will receive 30 million euros ($35.8 million) per season along with a signing bonus of 50 million euros ($59.6 million).