Lionel Messi will be a Barcelona player until at least 2018 unless a club forks out the buy out clause in his contract which is reported to be worth in the region of £250 million. Messi is the key player, the star player at Barcelona and ultimately the most important component in the success of the side.
His decision to extend his contract with the club means he is unlikely to leave Barcelona until he is 31-years-old suggesting that he is looking to spend the rest of his career at the club. Captain Carles Puyol, 34, and midfielder Xavi, 32, have also signed contract extensions and will be with the club until 2016 at least.
The news means that the club will have tied down the spine of what has been a very successful side in the recent past for the near future. The basis of the team is secure which means the Barcelona dominance we have all got used to, is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.
Messi committing his future to the club is undoubtedly the biggest contract extension out of the three. He has just had his best year with the club scoring 90 goals in 2012. Other clubs could well have been able to pay him a higher wage packet but he has been with Barcelona since he was 13-years-old and this latest two-year extension on top of his current deal means he is likely to spend at least 18 years with the club.
Puyol and Xavi also came out o0f the Barcelona youth system and they will simply add to the longevity of the current side. They are both Catalan individuals and they know what it means both politically and socially to play for the club. Their commitment also means that the Barcelona identity can move forward along with any changes the club and the manager make over the next few seasons.
So the news is positive for the fans because they retain the services of their best player, their Argentinean star and they will also have their Catalan values well represented out on the pitch. This means the basic qualities needed to play for Barcelona (technique, passion, aggression and desire) will all be retain in each player who turns out for the team.
It means Barcelona are guaranteed to have a key player in central defence, central midfield and through the middle of the attack. Tito Vilanova can build the rest of his side around these players and also means he has a permanent formula, a formula which has been proven to work on which he can expand.
It basically means Barcelona will be right at the very top of the game for at least the next six years. When Puyol and Xavi do retire, it will leave a gaping hole through the middle of the team but the club has used a successful method to cope with this sort of loss before.
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