Argentine midfield player Lionel Messi has extended his contract with FC Barcelona, tying himself to the club until 2014. Three months ago the 18-year-old signed an agreement running until 2010, and said he was "delighted" to have added an extra four years to the deal, which also includes a €150m buy-out clause.
"I've always wanted to stay at Barcelona so there were no problems in reaching the agreement," said Messi, who will now be paid as a first-team member rather than as a reserve player. Messi appeared as a second-half substitute in Barcelona's 2-0 UEFA Champions League victory against Werder Bremen, and won a penalty that Ronaldinho converted for the second goal.
Messi made his full international debut in August, but suffered disappointment as he was sent off in the game against Hungary. He also starred as Argentina won the FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands in June, finishing as the tournament's top scorer.
He has not played in the Primera División this season as his status as European Union player has not yet been ratified. Clubs can field three non-EU players, places usually occupied for Barcelona by the Brazilian Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon and Mexico defender Rafael Márquez. Messi has been at the Camp Nou since the age of 13, and should qualify for Spanish nationality through residence.
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