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Argentina faces the prospect of losing one of the top players in the world as Lionel Messi signs for Barcelona

ARGENTINA, Argentina (AP) Lionel Messi has signed a five-year deal with Barcelona, bringing the Argentina forward to a team that’s made history in a world that has been transformed by his presence.

Messi, 27, is a star of the European Champions League and World Cup, and his new contract includes an option to become a free agent at the end of the current campaign.

His signing with the Catalan giants makes them the most expensive club in history to sign a player of his caliber.

Argentina has lost four of its top players over the past decade and Messi, who turns 29 in January, has helped Argentina reach the finals of the World Cup in Brazil and European Championships.

He has won two La Liga titles and three Copa Libertadores titles, with Argentina winning the last two of those.

Barcelona is looking to add depth to its squad, while Argentina has won just three of its past 16 games in the last 10.

The Argentina international, who has spent the past three seasons at Barcelona, said he would play under the club’s current manager, Pep Guardiola.

The Argentine is known for his passion for the game and his ability to motivate his teammates.

Messi said he will spend at least three seasons with Barcelona.