Starlet Messi stays at Barca until 2014
MADRID, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Argentine teenage prodigy Lionel Messi extended his contract with Barcelona for the second time in three months on Friday.
Barcelona announced that the 18-year-old's contract had been updated so that it would now run until 2014 rather than 2010.
They also said that he would now be paid as a member of the first team squad rather than as a reserve team player who might make occasional appearances for the senior side.
Barcelona added, however, that Messi's buy-out clause would remain at 150 million euros ($183.5 million).
'I'm delighted,' said the youngster. 'I've always wanted to stay at Barcelona so there were no problems in reaching the agreement.'
Messi, who made his debut for Argentina last month, is unable to play for Barcelona in the Primera Liga at the moment because of doubts over his status as a so-called 'assimilated' player.
He was thought to have been classed as a European Union player because he had come through Barcelona's youth ranks, but the club has decided not to field him in league matches because his status has not been ratified by Spanish soccer authorities.
Under Spanish Football Federation rules each Primera Liga club is permitted a maximum of three non-European Union players on their books.
Barcelona's three berths are already occupied by Brazil forward Ronaldinho, Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o and Mexico defender Rafael Marquez.
Messi is, however, eligible to play in the Champions League and had an outstanding game when he came on as a second-half substitute in Barcelona's opening game against Werder Bremen on Wednesday, winning the penalty that sealed his side's 2-0 win.
Frequently compared with the young Diego Maradona, Messi joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old and has played for the club's reserves for the last two seasons.
He was top scorer for Argentina when they won the World Youth Cup in the Netherlands in June.