Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona through to 2021, ensuring the continuation of a remarkable career with the club.
When Messi made his competitive debut in October 2004 at the tender age of 17, there was already plenty of buzz about the Argentine wizard following his quick rise through the ranks of La Masia.
The forward was not only seen as one of Barca’s brightest prospects, but there were also murmurs he could potentially become an all-time great.
Fast-forward 13 years and it is fair to say Messi has lived up to those prodigious expectations, to the extent his latest terms include a mammoth €700million release clause.
The prolific forward, now 30, holds numerous individual records, while acting as the driving force behind Barca’s mightily impressive trophy haul.
Below, we look at some of the best stats of Messi’s remarkable career and the way it has progressed year by year.
– Messi is LaLiga’s all-time top-scorer with 361 goals, at least 75 more than any other player (Cristiano Ronaldo, 286).
– The Argentinian is Barcelona’s all-time top-scorer with 523 goals in all competitions.
– Messi was the first player to score five goals in a single Champions League game (versus Bayer Leverkusen in 2012).
– The forward has scored more goals than any other player in El Clasico history (24 – all competitions).
– He has made 602 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions, more than any other non-Spanish player.
– Messi has scored more goals for the same club than any other player in Champions League history (97 goals).
– The 30-year-old is the only LaLiga player to reach 40 goals in each of the last eight seasons in all competitions.
– Messi scored 50 goals in LaLiga in 2011-12, the best tally by a player in a single season.
– The forward has won the Ballon d’Or five times, more than any other player in history.
– He is the player with the longest scoring run in LaLiga history (21 games).
602 – Total Barcelona appearances
427 – Games won
106 – Draws
69 – Defeats
523 – Goals
423 – Left-footed goals
76 – Right-footed
22 – Headers
2 – Other
197 – Assists
THROUGHOUT THE YEARS
Aged 17 – Competitive Barcelona debut, first Barcelona goal, first LaLiga title.
18 – Argentina debut, first Argentina goal, second LaLiga, first Champions League, first Supercopa de Espana.
19 – Second Supercopa de Espana, first hat-trick to snatch 3-3 draw in El Clasico.
20 – A disappointing third-place finish in LaLiga heralds Pep Guardiola’s arrival as head coach.
21 – Third LaLiga, second Champions League, first Copa del Rey.
22 – First UEFA Super Cup, first Club World Cup, third Supercopa de Espana, fourth LaLiga, 100th Barcelona goal, first Ballon d’Or, first European Golden Shoe.
23 – Fifth LaLiga, third Champions League, fourth Supercopa de Espana, second Ballon d’Or.
24 – Second UEFA Super Cup, second Club World Cup, fifth Supercopa de Espana, second Copa del Rey, 200th Barcelona goal, third Ballon d’Or, second European Golden Shoe.
25 – Sixth LaLiga, 300th Barcelona goal, fourth Ballon d’Or, third European Golden Shoe.
26 – Sixth Supercopa de Espana, all-time Barcelona top-scorer.
27 – Seventh LaLiga, fourth Champions League, third Copa del Rey, 400th Barcelona goal.
28 – Eighth LaLiga, fourth Copa del Rey, third UEFA Super Cup, third Club World Cup, all-time Argentina top-scorer, fifth Ballon d’Or.
29 – Fifth Copa del Rey, seventh Supercopa de Espana, 500th Barcelona goal, fourth European Golden Shoe.
Lionel Messi has signed a new deal to stay at Barcelona until 2021, with the Catalan giants inserting a €700 million (US$835 million) buyout clause into the terms.
Barca said in July that Messi had agreed to a contract until June 2021, which would be signed “in the coming weeks”.
The lack of confirmation on that agreement had led to talk that Messi could leave Camp Nou, with the Argentina superstar reportedly the subject of an audacious bid from Manchester City for his services.
However, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu said earlier this month that Messi had signed three different deals – agreements with his Messi Foundation and one relating to image rights to run alongside the contract of employment – to cement his long-term future at the club.
And the long-running saga finally came to end on Saturday, with Messi putting pen to paper on his fresh terms with the five-time European champions, the mammoth buyout clause dwarfing the €222 million (US$265 million) Paris Saint-Germain spent to pry Neymar away from Barca in August.
Messi will be 34 when his newest extension reaches its expiration, and will have spent 17 years as a professional at Barca, having made his debut in 2004 after progressing from the club’s famed La Masia academy.
His time to date has yielded 523 goals from 602 appearances, while Messi has picked up eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns among a lengthy list of honors.
A winner of five Ballons d’Or, Messi also picked up his fourth Golden Shoe award on Friday after finishing as Europe’s top league goalscorer in 2016-17.