Earlier this year, Neymar stunned the soccer world when he left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain, which gladly paid the record $263 million transfer fee required to land the Brazilian sensation.
On Saturday, Barcelona all but ensured that Lionel Messi will not follow Neymar out the door, announcing that it has signed the Argentine forward to a contract extension through the 2020-21 season.
The transfer fee: an eye-popping $853 million. He isn’t going anywhere.
Messi’s previous contract was set to expire at the end of this season, and there were rumors that he wanted out of Barcelona, perhaps to a Premier League team such as Manchester City. Saturday’s announcement scuttles any chance of that happening. Messi will be nearly 34 when his new contract expires, and it seems likely that he’ll now spend most if not all of his career with Barcelona, which he joined in 2000 as a 13-year-old. He has helped lead the team to eight La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns, five Copa del Rey titles, seven Spanish Super Cups, three European Super Cups and three Club World Cups, winning FIFA’s Ballon d’Or award a record five times after scoring a La Liga-record 523 goals in 602 games.
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