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Lionel Messi signs new four-year Barcelona contract

Lionel Messi is staying put. Credit: PA

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has signed a new contract that will keep him at the Nou Camp until 2021.

The Argentine, who has 507 goals in 583 matches for Barcelona, had been linked with a move away from the club, but few ever thought it likely, as proved by the announcement.

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Messi, who made his senior debut as a 16-year-old in a friendly against Porto, has eight LaLiga titles, four Champions League wins and five Copa del Rey successes among his list of honours with the Catalan giants, and club officials are delighted to have secured agreement on another four years.

The statement continued: "The club is very happy with both the renewal and the commitment of Messi, the best player in history, who has played his full professional career at Barca and has led the team to an era of extraordinary success, the likes of which has never been seen in world football."

Messi arrived at Barca from Newell's Old Boys as a teenager in 2000 and made his first competitive appearance against Espanyol as a 17-year-old.

He scored the first of his club record 507 goals - they have come in just 583 matches - against Albacete in May 2005 and has since claimed the Ballon d'Or on five occasions, more than any other player.

However, the club which finished second to Spanish champions Real Madrid and bowed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage last season is expecting much, much more from its star man.

The statement added: "Leo Messi has since gone on to break just about every record and has become the greatest player in the world.

"Now, at 30 years of age, Messi has completed 13 seasons with the first team and, with his new deal, will remain for a further four.

"But Leo Messi will not stop there - the Argentinian is in one of the best moments of his career and still has a lot more left to give, which is music to the ears of all Barca fans who will get to continue marvelling at his greatness for at least another four years."