Barcelona retools: Lionel Messi signs new contract, Luis Enrique becomes manager
Barcelona, days removed from missing a chance to win the Spanish league title in its home stadium, has its eyes set on stabilizing its future.
The club announced Monday that Lionel Messi has signed a restructured contract with the club and that former Barca player Luis Enrique has signed a two-year deal to become the club's new manager.
Messi's new contract had been agreed upon as of late last week, but he put pen to paper on the deal that keeps him in Barcelona blue and red through 2017-18 at an improved salary reportedly worth $27 million per year (and potentially worth $34 million with incentives, according to the Associated Press). His buyout clause is reportedly set at an astounding $343 million.
As for Enrique, he replaces Gerardo Martino, who resigned with immediate effect after Atletico Madrid wrestled the league title away from Barcelona at Camp Nou in dramatic fashion on Saturday. It was Martino's only season in charge. Enrique, who played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, began his coaching career with Barcelona's B team before trying his hand at Roma and Celta Vigo. The 44-year-old inherits a team that will be without the retiring Carles Puyol and departing Victor Valdes.
Borussia Monchengladbach's Marc Andre ter Stegen has widely been touted as Valdes' replacement in goal, and multiple reports have that as an imminent signing. The German would provide a boost in net for Enrique, who guided Celta to a ninth-place finish in his one season at the helm there.
[UPDATE: ter Stegen signed with the club later Monday, and Barcelona recalled talented Spanish prospect Gerard Deulofeu back from his loan to Everton]In the meantime, Barcelona must watch as its two chief rivals this season, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, duke it out for UEFA Champions League supremacy in Saturday's final in Lisbon, Portugal.