Suarez declares new deal a gift for Barca and him

BARCELONA • Luis Suarez has signed a new contract with Barcelona, keeping him at the Nou Camp until June 2021, the Spanish champions announced.

The 29-year-old Uruguay striker's new deal, which had been in the pipeline for some time, features a €200 million (S$301.5 million) release clause.

Suarez, who has scored 97 goals in 116 appearances since signing from Liverpool in 2014, said: "They know that I feel happy here and there was never going to be a problem extending my contract. And finally, it's official.

"It's more than a gift for Barca, it's a gift for me. Both the club and I wanted this to continue because it's a good relationship.

"Any player would want to end their career at a club where they feel comfortable. We'll have to see, but I will never lose either my ambition or my enthusiasm."

The former Ajax striker helped Barca win a treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League (scoring in the 3-1 win over Juventus in the final) in his first season at the Nou Camp, and followed that up with a domestic double last season.

Suarez's remarkable goal tally of 59 goals in 53 matches last season, including 40 in La Liga, saw him win the European Golden Boot award for Europe's top scorer.

His new deal follows the announcement by Barcelona in October that Brazilian superstar Neymar had signed a new five-year contract also keeping him at the club until 2021, and featuring a €250 million buyout clause.

Barca coach Luis Enrique recently expressed confidence that Lionel Messi would tie his future to the club after opening talks to extend his contract beyond 2018.

Suarez said he hoped Messi would follow his lead but added that the Argentinian would make his decision on his own terms.

Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo signed a bumper new five-year contract with Real Madrid last month which will keep the Portuguese star at the European champions until he is 36.

His team-mates Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos also signed lucrative renewals.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Suarez declares new deal a gift for Barca and him'. Print Edition | Subscribe