Valverde: 'Messi buy-out clause should prevent Neymar repeat'

Barcelona lost Neymar before the start of the season and was determined that Lionel Messi would not follow him out of Camp Nou.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi   -  Getty Images

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde believes Neymar's departure from Catalonia prompted the club to increase Lionel Messi's buy-out clause.

The Brazil international was prised away from Camp Nou in August when Paris Saint-Germain agreed to pay €222million for his services, a figure that meant Barcelona was powerless to prevent the deal going through.

After much speculation, Messi's new deal, that runs until 2021, was announced on Saturday, with a release clause of €700m - a marked increase to the €300m figure that had previously been decided upon.

Valverde said: "I am not an expert in clauses, over time you know if they are high or not, but if we see what has happened with Neymar, I guess everything goes around.

"People said no-one would ever pay that and they did."

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Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu admitted earlier the terms of Messi's deal had been changed to reflect the changing economics in world football.


"It's a new contract that we have signed today, because although the one we signed in June was up to par with his greatness as a player, the new one is more in line with the current situation in the ever-changing world of football," he said.

"The buy-out clause had to be modified, and it has gone from €300m to €700m."

News of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's renewal is a huge boost for Valverde and Barca although the former Athletic Bilbao coach did admit to a painful memory when asked to pick one of Messi's best goals.

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He added: "If I had to choose just one, one image of Messi, then a lot of things come into my head. Perhaps the one that he scored at the Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey final when I was coaching Athletic.

"Now I'm on this side, the goal he scored against Getafe (a mesmerising run from the halfway line in the 2007 Copa semifinal) because it was similar to the great one Maradona scored (against England in the 1986 World Cup against England).

"The header against Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final, that one too."

Messi will hope to inspire Barcelona against title rival Valencia at Mestalla on Sunday with Marcelinho's side starting the weekend four points adrift in second.

Los Che has been arguably the most entertaining side in La Liga this season and Barcelona can expect a difficult evening.

Valverde added: "They are in the middle of a very good streak. They have good players, a good coach, a clear plan and they work well.

"It's a very good team and they don't have other competitions in midweek that can wear them down. I think they are primed to have a good season in LaLiga. We have to realise they are a rival to us."