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La Liga president Javier Tebas has said Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona.
According to Marca‘s Sergio Fernandez, he told reporters: “Messi has a contract which has been renewed. Contracts are official when they are signed and not when it is announced that they have been signed. Messi has signed with Barcelona, if I have not been lied to, he has signed.”
The Blaugrana announced in the summer that the Argentinian had agreed to a new four-year deal at the Camp Nou:
FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona
🔥 BREAKING 🔥
Leo Messi will remain at @FCBarcelona until 2021.
Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol reported the details:
Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh
Lionel Messi signs new four-year £500,000-a-week Barcelona contract with €300m release clause
However, that announcement has been cast into doubt, despite assurances from president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who told 8TV (h/t FourFourTwo) in September that the deal was all but done:
“We will take the photo with Messi’s signature, hopefully before the end of the year, but the contract has been signed by his father, who has the power of his image rights. This contract is signed until 2021 and he is already playing under it.”
Former Barcelona presidential candidate Agusti Benedito, who launched an unsuccessful vote of no-confidence against Bartomeu that same month, has disputed that.
Per Sergio Vera of Sport, he said the deal is “not valid” without Messi’s signature and added of Bartomeu: “It’s not the first time he’s lied.”
The Guardian‘s Sid Lowe also took issue with Barca’s claims:
Sid Lowe @sidlowe
Said Messi had *signed* new contract.
In a year, he is a free agent.
If Messi has not yet signed, he will be able to negotiate with teams in January ahead of a free transfer next summer.
Losing the talisman, who has scored 523 goals for the club in 600 matches and has a strong claim to be the best player of all time, would be a cataclysmic blow to Barcelona, and the idea of him departing for nothing would be even more unthinkable.
It’s critical the club eradicate any trace of doubt regarding his contract situation as soon as possible.