New con­tract

Barcelona will keep red-hot striker Suarez

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGEN­CIES in Barcelona

Luis Suarez has agreed a new con­tract with Barcelona that will keep him at Camp Nou un­til June 2021, the Span­ish cham­pion an­nounced on Thurs­day.

The 29-year-old Uruguay striker’s new deal, which had been in the pipeline for some time, fea­tures a $210 mil­lion re­lease clause.

Suarez, who has scored 97 goals in 116 ap­pear­ances since mov­ing from Liver­pool in 2014, was sched­uled to of­fi­cially sign the new deal on Fri­day.

“They know I feel happy here and there was never go­ing to be a prob­lem ex­tend­ing my con­tract,” said Suarez.

“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 we have 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.”

For­mer Ajax striker Suarez helped Barca win a tre­ble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Cham­pi­ons League in his first sea­son at Camp Nou and fol­lowed up with a do­mes­tic dou­ble last sea­son.

He scored in the 3-1 win over Ju­ven­tus in Ber­lin in the 2015 Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal.

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

Two months ago, Barcelona signed a three-year ex­ten­sion with Ney­mar, whose con­tract was to ex­pire in 2018.

Lionel Messi, the third mem­ber of Barca’s vaunted strike force, has a con­tract that ends in 2018 and ne­go­ti­a­tions are re­port­edly un­der­way to try to keep the five­time.world player of the year as a mem­ber of the trio that broke scor­ing records in each of the past two sea­sons.

Span­ish me­dia sources re­ported last week that Messi’s fa­ther and agent, Jorge Ho­ra­cio Messi, had ar­rived in Barcelona to be­gin ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“Of course I like that news,” said coach Luis En­rique. “The day on which (a new deal) is an­nounced will be a great day for ev­ery­one to cel­e­brate.”

Ney­mar’s buy­out clause is fixed at $208 mil­lion for the first year of his new deal, $230 mil­lion for the sec­ond and $265 mil­lion for the fi­nal year.

An­other pri­or­ity for the club in the com­ing months will be to re­new the con­tract of mid­fielder Andres Ini­esta, whose cur­rent deal also ends in 2018.

Barca has also re­cently tied down Sergi Bus­quets and Javier Mascher­ano to con­tract ex­ten­tions.

La Liga’s other star at­trac­tions have been busily putting pen to pa­per in re­cent weeks.

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.

Ron­aldo’s team­mates Gareth Bale, Luka Mo­dric and Toni Kroos also agreed to lu­cra­tive re­newals.

MANU FER­NAN­DEZ / AP

Luis Suarez poses dur­ing a pro­mo­tional event in Barcelona, Spain, on Thurs­day. Barcelona says it has reached a deal to ex­tend the Uruguay striker’s con­tract to June 2021, with a buy­out clause of $210 mil­lion.

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