KEY POINTS

  • American youngster Konrad de la Fuente chose to extend his contract with Barcelona 
  • De la Fuente's worth could go higher once promoted to first team
  • De la Fuente admitted he is still a little starstruck by Lionel Messi

An American winger, who has admitted that he is still a little starstruck by Lionel Messi, chose to extend his contract with Barcelona.

U.S. youth international Konrad de la Fuente is a Miami native who moved to Barcelona with his parents and eventually joined Barca's La Masia academy in 2014. He is one of the Barcelona youngsters who are currently being considered by other clubs, but he has opted to stay at Camp Nou.

ESPN recently confirmed that de la Fuente has signed a new contract with Barcelona, committing himself with the Catalan club until 2022. The report further revealed that Barca had to convince the American winger to stay at Camp Nou as a number of clubs were already considering signing him this summer.

Spanish sources claimed that de la Fuente was already bound to leave Barca for German side Hertha Berlin in December. Fortunately, the Catalans were able to persuade him that he would be given opportunities to progress at Camp Nou.

De la Fuente could be on his way to becoming Barcelona’s rising star in the making after the club put quite a value on him. His new terms reportedly include a €50 million ($56.1 million) release clause that could rise to a staggering €100 million ($112.2 million) should he manage to make the first team before the expiration of the deal.

The 18-year-old will still join the club's B team, who are playing in the third tier of Spanish football, next season. However, sources claimed that de la Fuente could be promoted to the second division later this summer.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi confirmed the players will take a 70 per cent pay cut during Spain's state of alarm Barcelona captain Lionel Messi confirmed the players will take a 70 per cent pay cut during Spain's state of alarm Photo: AFP / LLUIS GENE

In Barcelona, de la Fuente has managed to progress through the youth teams and has already made five appearances for the B team. He scored the winning goal in February in a 2-1 win against AE Prat and was occasionally called up to train with the first team. It was at these training sessions where de la Fuente first met six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.

According to de la Fuente, he was thrilled to meet Messi for the first time and is still “starstruck” even to this day.

"It's not that I'm used to [seeing Messi now] but I still get a little starstruck [when I see him]. The first time I trained with the first team, I got into the locker room and I turned to go into it and run into someone. And I looked and I see it's Messi,” de la Fuente  told ESPN in April.