Madrid: Lionel Messi has signed a new contract that will tie him to Barcelona until 2018, the club has announced.
Barca had already signalled Messi's intent to sign a new deal, along with teammates Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez, back in December and the four-time World Player of the Year has now put pen to paper.
"After Puyol and Xavi, this afternoon it has been Leo Messi's turn. The Argentinean star, accompanied by his father, has signed an extension to his contract with the club until June 30, 2018," said a statement on the club's website yesterday.
"The contract was signed in the Barcelona offices with president Sandro Rosell, vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta all present."
The contract retains the same USD 335 million buy-out clause as his previous deal and Messi will reportedly earn a net salary of USD 14.75 million.
It is the sixth time in eight seasons that the Argentine has negotiated a new deal with Barca with the Spanish league leaders understandably keen to tie their talismanic forward down to a long-term deal.
Messi broke an all-time European record on his way to scoring 91 goals in 2012, surpassing the previous record of 85 scored by German Gerd Muller in 1972.
And the 25-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down, with 10 goals in eight outings since the turn of the year as Barca have opened up a nine-point gap at the top of La Liga.