Barcelona's Sergi Roberto signs contract extension until 2022
BARCELONA -- Sergi Roberto turned down more lucrative offers to remain at Barcelona, extending his contract with the club until 2022.
Roberto, 25, signed his new deal at Camp Nou on Thursday alongside president Josep Maria Bartomeu, with his buyout clause rising to €500 million.
Chelsea and Manchester United were among the clubs to show an interest in Roberto last summer, when his release clause stood at just €40m, but the Premier League sides were unable to turn his head.
"I want to thank Sergi," Bartomeu said in a news conference. "He has had and will have a lot of better offers, but he's decided to stay at Barca. This is his home."
Also confirming the interest from elsewhere, Roberto said: "I always had it in my mind that I wanted to stay here at Barcelona.
"I've been a Barca supporter since I was a kid. I have been here for 12 years. There was interest from other clubs, but I want to stay here. Until 2022. And if it's longer than that, even better."
Roberto, who joined Barca from Catalan side Gimnastic as a 14-year-old, made his first-team debut under Pep Guardiola in 2010.
However, he struggled to establish himself initially, rotating between the B team and the first team. Then, when he was finally promoted to the first team on a permanent basis, he spent a lot of time out of the team.
"I always thought about the fact I was best at the club in the world," Roberto said when asked how he managed to overcome the doubts when he wasn't playing regularly.
"When I was with Barca B, the first team was exceptional. I knew it would be difficult and there were moments when I thought I wouldn't make it, but I wanted to fight to get here, I always have done.
"If there are players that want to leave -- and I also had offers to leave back then -- I would advise them to fight for their dreams if they really want to be successful at Barcelona."
Roberto has made 34 appearances in all competitions this season, albeit as a right-back -- a position in which he was first used by Luis Enrique.
"The most difficult moments were when I wasn't playing, when I was on the bench or watching from home," he added when asked if it's been tough to relocate from midfield.
"Adapting to another position has allowed me to play more minutes. I have played a lot of games at right-back now. What I want is to help the team and to feel important and I'm grateful to Luis Enrique for giving me that opportunity."
In total, Roberto has now made 187 appearances for the club, winning four La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies in the process.
His most famous moment, though, was against Paris Saint-Germain in last season's Champions League, when he scored the winning goal as Barca came from 4-0 down to win 6-5 on aggregate.
"That goal changed a lot," he said. "People on the streets always remember that goal. It's what they want to talk about and it's a great memory for me. That goal has marked my career. It was a very special, unique moment."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.